Midnight in Paris


Gil (Owen Wilson) is a writer.  He and his fiancé, Inez (Rachel McAdams) are visiting Paris.  Inez’s parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy) are along for the trip.  Gil is using the trip as inspiration for writing his first novel.

While on the trip, Gil starts realizing that he and Inez have different plans for their life.  Gil would be happy living in Paris.  It’s beautiful when it rains.  Inez would be happier living somewhere in the states.

During one of their outings, Gil decides he would rather walk the streets of Paris.  At midnight, a car pulls up to the steps where he is sitting.  The passengers insist he join them.  When they reach their destination, Gil quickly realizes he is in 1920s Paris.  What he has decided is the “golden age.”

Gil finds himself in the company of such greats as Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Cole Porter (Yves Heck), and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill).  He decides to make this trip a nightly visit, romping with other cultural icons.  He gives Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) his novel for review.  He also meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard).  His nightly run-ins have him realizing that he and Inez aren’t as meant for each other as he thought.  He also starts falling for Adriana.

Are the differences he and Inez are experiences something they can overcome and live out the life they had imagined?  Is the “golden age” really as “golden” as he imagines?

I’m normally not a fan of Woody Allen.  His movies have just never really appealed to me.  I’ve seen a few.  Some as required by college courses.  But they didn’t do anything for me.

Midnight in Paris is definitely an exception.  The story is original.  At least, I’ve never seen one like it.  It moves along at a decent pace.  Never dwelling too long on any one aspect.  But not too quickly that it feels rushed or forced.

I was surprised with Owen Wilson’s performance.  It was excellent.  A complete change of pace from Drillbit Taylor.  (Don’t get me wrong, I loved Drillbit.  Do with that information as you will.  It was funny.)  He fits right in with the story and the “period piece” bits.  And Rachel McAdams.  She plays a role that is definitely familiar and comfortable for her.  And she does it well.  I rarely have cause to disparage her performance.

While it makes you think, and forces you to consider whether it is better to live in your ideal world or live in the now, it never gets heavy-handed.  It keeps things light-hearted and doesn’t spare the comedy.  Granted, it’s Woody Allen style humor, which isn’t for everyone.  But I feel it’s a little more universal than the majority of his other films.

It is obvious why this film was nominated for Best Picture.  And, again, I never thought I would be hoping for a Woody Allen win.  (Although, I would get behind any film that meant the overrated Hugo wouldn’t receive the Oscar.)  If you’re looking for a movie that will appeal to both men and women, and lets you romp about with cultural greats (I even found myself researching some of the characters to see who they are and why they are so great), definitely take a trip to the RedBox to pick this one up.

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