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Midnight In Paris (2011)
Midnight in Paris
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy, Michael Sheen, Nina Arianda, Carla Bruni, Adrien Brody, Yves Heck, Alison Pill, Corey Stoll, Tom Hiddleston, Marion Cotillard, David Lowe, Yves-Antoine Spoto
Synopsis: Gil and Inez travel to Paris as a tag-along vacation on her parents' business trip. Gil is a successful Hollywood writer but is struggling on his first novel. He falls in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they get married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920s was the golden age. When Inez goes off dancing with her friends, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source of inspiration for writing. Gil's daily walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he's about to marry.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and smoking
Road Map For Those Wanting To See Paris, France
The Magic and Beauty of Paris, as told by Woody Allen
Whether you love or hate Woody Allen's style of film making, there's no denying that you'll never find another one like him. Unlike most film makers of today, Woody Allen doesn't seem to make movies for the sake of cashing in a quick paycheck. No, Woody Allen, like Steven Spielberg, tends to make films that he's passionate about, and speaks to what he wants to deliver creatively rather than try to make films that forge a fresh path for himself, to make him more of a versatile film maker.
Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to Woody Allen repeating himself in various films, but even when he does, you can never quite bring yourself to hate any of his movies. Sure, I can see why some people would be put off with his style of film making, as it's sort of an acquired taste with Allen. Unlike most writers and directors of today's generation, Woody doesn't try to dumb down any of his stories for the audience. No, he's essentially a cinema snob, but in a good way.
During "Midnight in Paris", he uses many famous literary authors and artists, as characters, that some may instantly recognize like F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), Ernest Hemmingway (Corey Stoll) and etc. He never stops to explain who they are, or why they're famous, as he expects his viewers to already know, and be in on the many inside jokes and references involving said legendary icons. Granted, it's great if you're into intellectual comedies like these, but for those that may not be familiar with the inside references, it can be a bit off putting; hence it's an acquired taste with Woody Allen movies. Not to mention the fact that many of his stories can be a bit too abstract for most mainstream movie goers to pick up on.
In a nutshell, if you've never liked a Woody Allen movie before, then I doubt seriously this movie will change your mind about him. But for those that adore him, then you'll be in for a real treat. Luckily for Mr. Allen and myself, I happen to fall into the later category of those that love his movies.
Like his previous film, "Manhattan", where he glorified the beauty of New York, he does the exact same thing with "Midnight in Paris." Not only does the film pay great homage to Paris, but he even manages to make the city itself seem like a character, in the movie. Using the cinematography and lighting, Allen seems to make mad passionate love to Paris with this movie, as he emphasizes it's allure and beauty for all audiences to see. Not only capturing the magic and prestige of Paris during the day, but capturing the essence of it during the moonlight. Heck, there's even scenes where he shows the beauty of Paris when it's raining, and he spends the first five minutes of the movie glorifying it's immense beauty before taking the audience into it's story. Even if you don't care for his style of film making, you can still appreciate the fact that he knows how to use a setting and back drop for a movie perfectly.
Although from watching this movie, it does seem like the main character, Gil (Owen Wilson), was written with Woody Allen potentially playing the starring role, as many of the dialogue, and mannerisms, of the character seemed almost reminiscent of what you'd imagine a younger Woody Allen would've done. However, since he's obviously too old to play the part now, he casts a young Owen Wilson as his stand in. Granted, it's not a bad thing, as Owen does a wonderful job incorporating his own laid back style humor; with Woody Allen's intellectual, nostalgic loving, yet over self analyzing character. However, it's painfully obvious to see that Woody Allen wrote the character with himself in mind.
Having said that though, it does lead it's way to many interesting character developments throughout the movie. As one could almost sense the internal struggle that Allen felt to repeat his ever loving fantasy about nostalgia, but only to realize that the era that many people consider nostalgic isn't always perfect as it would seem. In the film, Gil mentions how we tend to fantasize, and glorify, the great visionary artists of the past, and how much he envies them for living in such a unique nostalgic era. However, what he soon comes to realize is that some of those same icons he idolizes, in 1920's, often fantasize and glorify the visionary artists before their time, and so on. Meaning that no matter how great of a time period we live in, we always find ourselves fantasizing and glorifying the past; in spite of the beauty of the present we find ourselves in.
As many of my readers know, I always like to explain the story first before analyzing a movie. However, for this particular film, I've decided to make a huge exception. Why you may ask? Unlike most films, "Midnight in Paris" is a movie that seems to work best when you know as little as possible about it. Therefore, I won't spoil it for any Woody Allen fans that have yet to see the film.
As I said before, "Midnight in Paris" isn't for everyone, as Woody Allen's style of film making takes sort of a required taste to truly appreciate it. Therefore, if you were never fan of his to begin with, then I'd probably pass on this one altogether. However, if you are a fan of his work, or admire his movies, then you'll definitely enjoy this one. Granted, the movie suffers from being a bit predictable at times, but it never ruins the movie to where you'll ever want to hate it.
In the end, I'd have to give this movie a three and a half out of four. I wouldn't necessarily say this is Woody Allen's best film, but it's definitely worth watching if you're into his intellectual style of comedies.