Review: Midnight in Paris

THE SETUP: Hollywood writer Gil (Owen Wilson) is in love with Paris…its history, its culture, its tendency to rain…unfortunately he’s there with his fiancée (Rachael McAdams) and her family who aren’t as enamored. Needing to escape, Gil finds himself getting into a vintage cab at the stroke of midnight, where he’s exposed to a world of historical playwrights, artists and fantasy. To say his present and his fantasy don’t click would be an understatement.

I won’t pretend to say that I’m a big fan of Woody Allen’s work. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I have been drawn to it. His New York-focused films started to get a little weak over the years so a while back he decided to restart himself in Europe. He’s all the better for it, as demonstrated by this, his latest movie. I should start by saying I hated Midnight in Paris…because it made me want to walk out of that theatre and get onto a plane to France. It was amazing. The city itself is such a living, breathing character in this story, as much as Wilson, McAdams or the large cast of historical characters. Who, I should say, were just fun to run into…Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway…you were wondering who Gil would meet next. You could tell the actors were having a blast bringing these people back to life and embracing the fantastic script. The writing was top-notch – whimsical, heartbreaking, exciting.  Owen Wilson’s character is trying to get some clarity about his life’s direction, and though that is something we all can identify with…it really is overdone in movies. This was a very new and welcome approach. I would say this is a movie where I would actually want this experience to happen to me. And that’s usually just reserved for adult flicks.

3 tickets – tell everyone you know. This is a trip you’ll want to go on, through the movie and in real life. I know of a few people who have seen this 3+ times and I can’t say I blame them.

Random Recommendations
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – Besides Woody Allen, no one seems to get a better performance out of Owen Wilson than Wes Anderson. This might not be the first flick that comes to mind (Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums) but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. A dynamically funny animated story of a fox trying to resist his nature…you know, to steal chickens.

The Pianist (2002) – He has a short cameo as Salvador Dali in Midnight in Paris but dominates this film as a Jewish musician trying to survive the Holocaust. There’s a reason he won the Academy Award for this, a very haunting and horrific tale of survival.

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