Woody Allen seems to be one of those directors that polarizes audiences into either “love” or “hate”. If you are one of those who typically love his work, then you will not be disappointed by his latest film; Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard. It has all of the trademarks of a Woody Allen film that audiences have grown to love; subtle humor, witty banter, and just an overall breezy film that leaves you always looking forward to what Allen will do in his next movie.
Midnight in Paris focuses around a man named Gil (Owen Wilson), who instead of having a romantic moment in the City of Love, he finds himself trapped, confused and miserable. Gil is a screenwriter who is amidst a nasty case of writers block when it comes to finishing his first actual novel. Problems continue to rise when his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), appears a little too charmed by her dear, old friend Paul (Michael Sheen), who happens to be in Paris with his wife at the same time, yet makes no efforts to masks his reciprocal flirtation with Inez. Things only seem to worsen for Gil as Inez’s parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy) seem keen on pointing out how Gil is no where near as successful as Paul, and that Inez married the wrong man.
To take his mind off of what’s troubling him, Gil decides to take a walk one night and finds himself longing for the “Golden Era” of Paris, the 1920’s. Before he knows it, he is whisked away in a strange car and ends up at a magnificent party the exact era he was just wishing for where he meets the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and the entrancing beauty – Adriana (Marion Cotillard) – a sophisticated costume designer and mistress of Picasso.
Some may call it just another time travel story but Allen puts in a great deal of fun and laughter in for the audience to enjoy. Although part of the story is set in the year 1920, he does not recreate what actually happened with historical accuracy, but simply forms a beautiful picture of the past based on what Gil imagines the era would have been like.
The obvious criticism is that this may not be as instant of a classic as some of Allen’s earlier films, but surely Allen created an amalgamation of bygone sophistication, romance and lots of hilarity that will definitely amuse any audience. The script itself blinded the moot realism of the early 1900s with the clever and amusing libretto of each character and many historical remarks that may go unnoticed to audience members not well schooled in important characters of the time.
The actors and actresses are well suited to the characters they portray and helped to take the film past being just another “ordinary comedy”. Wilson was a perfect fit for the perplexed and casual personality of Gil, while Cotillard was nothing but sophistication, glamorous and charismatic. The cinematography was also quite excellent in that it makes you feel at ease and as if you are merely eavesdropping on a conversation of friends. The mesmeric montage of Paris that begins the film sets the tone as Allen would want his viewers to truly appreciate the beauty of Paris and love it just as much as he has claimed on several occasions, whether they have been to the city or not. If for no other reason – the film is worth seeing just based on the exploratory feel of the city of lights.