Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen
Country: US & Spain
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Time: 100 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
USA Release: 6/10/2011
On DVD (USA): 12/20/2011
Awards: 1 Academy Award Win, 3 Academy Award Nominations, 1 BAFTA Award Nomination, 1 Golden Globe Win, 3 Golden Globe Nominations
Woody Allen’s newest film “Midnight In Paris” is one of great story telling and directing, which is no surprise to Allen fans. Just like the title, every night in Paris when the clock strikes midnight something new is happening much like an Allen film, that balanced with the familiarity of his jazz music is much like that of midnight something you always know to be true, anywhere you are, you know midnight is going to roll around. But in his newest film that many are calling his best in years, he combines fantasy with reality.
Owen Wilson plays Gil, a popular screenwriter trying his hand at writing a novel, while on vacation with his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents (Kurt Fuller & Mimi Kennedy) he finds his growing nostalgia carrying him on walks in Paris at midnight. And on the very first night he is suddenly and surprisingly transported to the very time period he so desperately wishes he had lived in, Paris circa the roaring 20’s. While there he meets many of his heroes most in the early stages of there said career, some include Ernest Hemingway, Dali, Cole Porter, among others. Excited by all of this he tries to include Inez and show her, but she leaves just before midnight, missing all of the fun. This time while there he meets and shows his manuscript to Gertrude Stein, who helps him get in the right direction with his novel. But while there he becomes entranced with Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who is currently with Picasso. After that every trip is focused on seeing Adriana, who he found not only beautiful but very interesting, but the one thing he never thought would happen in his trip would be clarity not only for his writing but for his life.
Like with any Woody Allen film you go in expecting greatness and that’s exactly what you get with this wonderful film. Before you even see one shot of any of the actors, he takes you around Paris showing you various shots of landscape, iconic spots, maybe even his favorite places almost like you are on a personal tour with him, which gives you your own idea of Paris before the movie starts. Allen also does a great job blending the past and the present, making it distinct enough without having to change the way it was being filmed (like some directors do, using black & white and other various methods), he just relied on the atmosphere and costumes to set the time. His writing of course is the best it’s been since 2008’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and although it doesn’t seem that long ago, to Allen fans it’s seems a lifetime. Just like I said about the way he blended the eras together, another thing fans will love is the use of all of the artistic and literary historical figures. From the 1920’s to the present the supporting cast in both eras did a fantastic job. For the cast that were set in the 20’s they all did a great job, they looked as though they themselves could have lived in the time. Adrian Brody struck a very high note in everyone’s mind in his short scene playing Dali. And for the cast that was in the present they too did great, Michael Sheen as always does great, he is like a chameleon he can wear any color or in this case role. But hey it’s Woody Allen, the last thing he is going to mess up is casting the wrong people. Something different is that we have not one but two leading ladies in this, Rachel McAdams played the spoiled rich brat very well. Her high tastes and materialistic being is slowly driving Gil away. All she wants to do is change him, not understand him. This is a role that is very different than what we have seen McAdams do lately. As for Marion Cotillard she totally embodied the look, feel and spirit of the 1920’s. Definitely the right person for the role. You really believe she was the character, really looks apart of the time period. And of course we can’t forget Owen Wilson, who played the “Woody Allen” role very well and instead of trying to imitate Allen’s mannerisms, he brought his own unique personality which made it all the better. Making this one of Wilson’s best performances in a long time, maybe even of his career.
To sum up, “Midnight in Paris” is one of Woody Allen’s best film of the past decade or two. With a fantastic story that has you wanting to watch it all over again as soon as it’s over. Wonderful cast that, not only give some of their best performances but also look apart of the time period. It’s a amazing movie that not only Allen fans will love but even one’s new to his work. If it’s playing in a theater near you (or you can find it on DVD, when it comes out) run, don’t walk and sit down and enjoy this marvelously trip to Paris.