Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s love letter to “La Ville Lumiere” in the roaring twenties.
We have Owen Wilson playing Gil a Hollywood screenwriter who is tired of the constant hackneyed scripts and wants to try his hand at that elusive first novel. He and his fiance Inez played by Rachel McAdams are holidaying in Paris with her parents and they soon realise that they both have very different views about what they want from life. Their predicament is further tested when Michael Sheen turns up, an old friend of Inez who is the embodiment of a pedantic know it all. Oh and every night at midnight Gil travels back in time to the twenties where he hangs out with everyone from Ernest Heminway to Salvador Dali.
Essentially what Allen has done is turned the game “who would be at your ideal dinner party” into a movie, with all his favourites in attendance. We are introduced to Cole Porter, the Fitzgeralds, Picasso, T.S. Eliot, Matisse and Luis Bunuel. Some are only on screen for mere minutes while others such as Hemingway are central to the plot. Gil himself is in love with the twenties and believes it to have been the height of civilisation but while there he meets and falls in love with Adriana played by Marion Cotillard who herself believes the Belle Epoque to have been the ideal time to live.
People have said that this is Woody Allen’s return to form and his funniest films in year however I quite enjoyed many of his last outings , especially “Match point” , “Vicky, Christina, Barcelona” and “Whatever Works” and I feel that this film will alienate a lot of people as if you don’t know who the people are the film will seem quite boring. It certainly is more whimsical and oddball than his straight stories of late but has many of his signature themes of infidelity, fear of death and he keeps trying to tell us that there is nothing untoward about a much younger women dating an older man with the appearance of Gabrielle towards the end of the film.
A film that drops more names than a pretentious socialite this film would appear to be Allen’s most self indulgent work in years but it’s his party and he’ll do the Charleston if he wants to.