Midnight in Paris
May 20, 2011 (LIMITED)
June 3, 2011 (WIDE)
Sony Pictures Classics
1 hour 34 minutes
CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT! Read Review At Your Own Risk.
For those who want a summarized review, here it is:
A new timeless classic filled with laughs, romance,
and the magic of one of the most beautiful cities in the world
Magic can happen anywhere, even in the most magical of places. I'm not talking about Disney World in this situation, I'm actually talking about Paris, France, the setting of the latest movie for me to review, Midnight in Paris. Midnight in Paris is the latest directorial effort of the controversial Woody Allen. Allen's more recent movies, other than Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Match Point have all been negatively received. However Cannes was still willing to give Allen a chance and make his latest movie the opening night film for the world famous festival. Praise came from the French festival, and critics loved it worldwide upon its release. So now it's my turn to review this movie, which also happens to be my first Woody Allen movie. From what I saw, I saw a movie that is funny, magical, and most of all, timeless. Midnight in Paris is an excellent movie overall, and one of the must see movies of 2011. I am positive that those who aren't fans of Allen's previous two movies (You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger and Whatever Works) will absolutely adore this movie, and may be tempted to go see it again. Well, I know that I am surely tempted.
Owen Wilson plays Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who has come to Paris with his fiance Inez and his in-laws to write his novel. Gil wants to permanently move to Paris so he can write his novel, but Inez thinks otherwise. Wanting to escape his privileged life, Gil every night at midnight hops into a car and escapes into his "golden era": the 1920s. There Gil encounters his literary idols, including the Fitzgerald's and Ernest Hemingway, as well as Picasso's mistress Adriana, whom Gil tends to be very attracted to. Gil must decide to himself whether he should stay in Paris and finish his novel or go back to Hollywood and marry his privileged fiance, who may or may not be attracted to her friend Paul, a pseudo-intellectual who tends to show off his supposed strong artistic knowledge.
Since this is my first Woody Allen movie, I can't compare it to his early work. I have yet to see Annie Hall or Bananas, but I have heard that they are classic movies, so I definitely will check those out in the future. When my accompanist and I got out of the movie, she immediately compared this movie to Woody Allen's 1985 film, 'The Purple Rose Of Cairo.' In that movie, a fictional movie character Jeff Daniels climbs out of a print of his movie and into the real world, where he falls in love with Mia Farrow. I can see the comparison between the two movies, because each movie's main character fall in love with their biggest fantasy, as Rachel McAdams says at the beginning of this movie's trailer. Compared to the characters in each of those movies, I've also fallen in love with a fantasy: this movie. This movie is every aspiring person in the world's fantasy. Props to Woody Allen for making such an original and unique story that really struck a chord in my mind. The story will make you laugh out loud, give you some awesome old school French music, and make you care about or hate the characters in this movie. Speaking of the characters...
The cast in this movie is sublime. Owen Wilson has the best performance of his entire (Ben Stiller filled) career in this movie. He is funny at times, and you really feel for him when he's stuck in the movie's big dilemma. Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen are among the group of characters from the priviliged Hollywood background. These characters are self centered jerks who are clearly missing Owen Wilson's vision of Paris. These characters are the type of characters whom you love to hate. In a movie with hardly any antagonists, these characters would probably fall in that demograpic. Once Owen Wilson steps into his 1920s paradise, you get introduced to the best characters in the entire movie. These characters are as magical as Paris in both time settings. Some of the supporting characters include Marion Colltiard as Adriana, Some of these characters add depth to the story, and some of them are just there to give the audience a few bellylaughs. Either way, the characters in this movie add even more magic to this dazzling movie.
Woody Allen has made a triumph of a film that will soon be considered an instant timeless classic. If you know who T.S. Elliot, Picasso, and all of the other historical characters in this movie, then you will surely enjoy this movie. The cast in this movie is terrific, and the story is great. Woody Allen knows how to be a great storyteller at the best of times. His previous two films might not have shown his artistic abilities as his earlier films did, but Midnight in Paris strikes every chord possible on the great movies' harp. Every moviegoer in the world, and every die hard Woody Allen fan will fall in love with this movie. No matter how you get to see this movie, I still strongly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to get away from all of the big budgeted blockbusters coming out this summer. If you want to escape from rampaging robots in Chicago or superheroes kicking ass on our home planet, then you may just want to hop into Woody Allen's crazy mind for an hour and a half and discover what happens when you spend a magical, fantastic night with Owen Wilson and company in Midnight in Paris.
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