Woody Allen gives us an enjoyable look at daily life in Paris not only in 2011 but also in 1920.
Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s latest film and is by far one of his best in the last decade. Owen Wilson leads a great ensemble cast that takes the viewer through the streets and countryside of Paris in present day but also dives into the nights of Paris in the 1920s. Wilson plays Gil who is a writer who is currently on vacation with his fiance, Inez, played by Rachel McAdams (I thought it was Wedding Crashers 2 at first). He is writing a novel but is currently dealing with writer’s block even though he is in his dream location to write. Inez does not share his love for Paris but rather loathes Paris life with her Tea Party parents, John and Helen, played by Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy. McAdams, Fuller, and Kennedy give wonderful performances and play off of Owen Wilson’s constant dreaming very hilariously and even though you may hate them throughout the movie you can’t help but find them oddly entertaining. Inez and Gil run into her professor/crush Paul and his wife Carol, played by Michael Sheen and Nina Arianda while in Paris and spend a lot of time touring the city and countryside with them. Inez is always infatuated with Paul’s extensive knowledge while we are entertained by Owen Wilson’s quick “toss-in” facts that stir the pot between he and Sheen. But the real crux of the story lies with the midnight trips that Owen Wilson takes when he goes walking around the streets of Paris. After midnight he enters a car and is instantly transported to the 1920s where he runs into faces like Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso. My favorite performances were Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway and Marion Cotillard as Adriana. Stoll gave us a great take on Hemingway, making him a very interesting and rugged beast. He spoke his mind and did what he want and even though he had a hint of danger to him, you still wanted to be around him. Cotillard was terrific as usual playing the mistress of Picasso, Adriana, who later became a love interest of Owen Wilson. She was a very interesting character that was more than just a pretty face in the cast and further shows that Cotillard is one of the best women in the business. The elements of the movie that I most fell in love with was the cinematography and the feeling of being in Paris that you have while watching as well as the expected quirky Woody Allen script that worked flawlessly.
In conclusion, Midnight in Paris is one of Woody Allen’s best films in the last few years as well as one of the best films so far this year. It is fun, heart-warming, and funny and was one of the best experiences I’ve had at the movies this year.