Woody Allen films often have a manic feel to them. He has a lot of characters in them that speak as he does. Perhaps Allen has mellowed somewhat in his older age, because “Midnight in Paris” has a nice leisurely pace to it. Or it could be the story itself was tailored more to this slower pace. Regardless, this is a magical film. I myself have never been to gay old Paris, but this film captures the subtle charm of the wondrous city well enough for me to become deeply enamored with it – much like the main character.
“Midnight in Paris” is part whimsy and part fantasy and part time-travel. It is a tale woven through the conversation of a modern-day author named Gil with multiple artists from the age of Paris in the 1920s, including Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Salvidor Dali, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I am a fan of all of these artists and that time period; I studied a bit of it in college, and I particularly loved the works and life of Fitzgerald. I guess you could say that I identified with Gil (played by Owen Wilson) and his love affair with that period of history and that place. Can you imagine winding up at a party somehow with Hemingway & Fitzgerald? Allen weaves this tale in a seamless fashion so as to not bog down in any time travel technicalities, which made it so very enjoyable!
I loved the fact that Gil sort of accidentally time travels, but only after Midnight. That kind of magic seems lost in movies today. It was a little along the lines of “Somewhere in Time” – which is a FANTASTIC film, by the way – with bringing a modern day person into the past. But the best thing Allen does with this film is that he doesn’t bother to explain why or how Gil is getting there – because that isn’t important. The real message of the story centers around how many of us long for some Golden Age, not realizing that during that Golden Age, there were people who lived then that craved and even older Golden Age. Ultimately, “Midnight in Paris” is about being happy with who you are – and WHEN you are.
I have to hand it to Allen: “Midnight in Paris” was a marvelous film and completely worthy of all of its Oscar nominations (including Best Picture). The musical score is wonderful and helps to complete to feel of the film. The film was nominated for multiple awards including the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and even the BAFTA awards in several categories. The cast is outrageously good, and I loved Adrien Brody as Dali and Corey Stoll as Hemingway! If you want a slower-paced film, with a deft approach to time travel that carries a pretty cool message in its story and set in the magnificent “city of lights”, then I couldn’t recommend a better film. This was a delight!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE
- Midnight in Paris cleared of copyright infringement (guardian.co.uk)
- REVIEW: “Midnight in Paris” (keithandthemovies.com)