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Midnight in Paris

A 2011 movie directed by Woody Allen.

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Allen Lets Go

  • May 28, 2011
Written and Directed by Woody Allen
Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard and Michael Sheen
Inez: The studios adore you; you’re in demand. Do you really want to give it all up just to struggle?
Every time I review a Woody Allen movie, it seems I address the same issues time and time again. This is likely because Allen always chooses to tackle the same themes – class, art and commerce, American values, inferiority and infidelity, to name but a few. Often times, he falls flat, which is entirely reasonable when one takes into account that he makes a movie every year, but once in a while, his recurring neurosis come together so perfectly, they reveal his true genius. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, Allen’s 41st feature film, embodies this culmination brilliantly and is perhaps his most enchanting film in years. It is unmistakably “Woody Allen” but for some cinephiles out there, that is cause for celebration and not reason to run away.
Allen opens MIDNIGHT IN PARS the way he always does, with plain white titles on a black background and a plucky jazz track playing. Suddenly, he interrupts himself and goes into a montage of Paris postcard shots, spanning a day that sees all the sights, a heavy rain fall and the kind of charm that only an evening in Paris can provide. It isn’t that the montage itself isn’t also quintessentially Allen-esque that is striking; it is the interruption that announces that Allen is alert and making choices instead of just letting everything play out naturally. It also allows the viewer, or any remotely sentimental one anyway, to get fully sucked into the clichéd idea of Paris as the most romantic city in the world. The images themselves are stunning yet subtle, thanks to cinematographer, Darius Khondji (who has worked with Allen once before on ANYTHING ELSE, but we probably shouldn’t talk about that), allowing Paris to be its grand self and showing us very clearly how much Allen is in love with the city.
Owen Wilson is Gil, the Allen figurehead in this story (and a very suitable one at that). He is a successful Hollywood screenwriter who considers all his success to be built on the production of meaningless material. He and his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams, who does materialistic and shallow all too well) find themselves in Paris on her parents’ dime, just as he has decided to try his hand at writing a novel in hopes of achieving a more respectable level of artistry. Their priorities are clearly at odds; she prefers to go out and party while he prefers to soak in the city’s elegance. More importantly, she is of the moment and he cannot help but long for a simpler time, when life was rich and not empty like the constantly moving present. Then one night, Gil gets exactly what he has been longing for. He is mysteriously whisked away to the Paris of yesteryear when the clock strikes midnight. Here he meets artists he has always admired and finds romance he has only dreamed of. If only he wasn’t from another era.
It may sound a little “je sais quoi” but MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is truly a magical experience and meant to be absurdist and surreal. The cast is delightful, from Marion Cotillard as Gil’s other world love interest to Michael Sheen as the pedantic windbag archetype Allen loves to mock so much. Paris, past and present, also presents Allen with an opportunity to showcase exquisite production designs and lovely costume pieces. It is practically impossible not to get caught up in the glamour of it all. Despite all of this allure though, what most distinguishes this work from so much of Allen’s previous work, is Allen’s shift towards resolution. Infamous for being trapped by the past, Allen now moves towards letting go of his illusions of the past, allowing for a catharsis that his films rarely ever achieve.

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LUNCH rating is out on 10.

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November 07, 2011
I love Paris and its great to see film that is in fact a love story to Paris. Its one of Woody's best.
June 03, 2011
This film has been getting ridiculously great reviews and I'm so excited to see it soon! I've only seen a couple of his older films, so I definitely need to familiarize myself with the rest of the compendium of his work. Thanks for the review!
June 04, 2011
I feel like it won't live up to the hype. It is still a Woody Allen movie after all. If you don't like him in general, you might have a hard time with it.
June 02, 2011
Excellent review
June 04, 2011
Thank you kindly, sir.
May 29, 2011
this film got three positive reviews from three reviewers I trust? I have to see this one as soon as it plays in my area. It is a bummer that Indie movies usually get a later release in SF... :(

I take that back, I just double checked and it is playing nearby now. Happy days!
May 30, 2011
It seems odd to me that SF would have to wait for stuff. We wait here in Toronto too. I still have to wait two more weeks for Tree of Life (which is killing me). In fact, MIP is not actually playing here yet. I just caught an advance screening.
May 30, 2011
I am also waiting for THE TREE OF LIFE. (killing me too) Seems like L.A. and New York get first dibs on independent movies.
June 05, 2011
well, saw "the Tree of Life" not Malick's best imho, but still pretty darn good. I was set to see MIP but I immediately jumped on the chance to see "Tree of Life" since the screening was earlier. The theater was packed!
June 17, 2011
I too have now seen Tree of Life. It's gonna be a bitch to write about it. I was in love with the overall aesthetic but I found Malick to be not as insightful as he clearly felt he was. Gorgeous though. And Jessica Chastain was beautiful. I hope to post by tomorrow evening.
More Midnight in Paris reviews
review by . June 15, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Not being an Owen Wilson fan, despising most of his roles with the exception of Wedding Crashers, I had no intention of seeing this film. It caught my attention while I was flipping channels on one of my movie stations (I think it was on Starz). Wilson is engaged to Rachel McAdams (hey this was the pairing in Wedding Crashers) and they go to Paris with McAdams' parents. McAdams seems to be only interested in shopping for expensive jewelry and putting down Wilson's taste in the finer things of life. …
review by . February 02, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
We've all had those romantic fantasies: Travel back in time to whatever period suits your fancy, hang out with all the dead bigwhigs we learned about in history class, and bask in the eclecticism and excitement of one of history's greatest eras. But rarely is it that those little fantasies take into consideration what the golden gods of the eras we dream about think of them.     Over the last few years, it appears the indie film legend Woody Allen has been presenting filmgoers …
review by . January 09, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    While watching "Midnight in Paris", I was confronted by a simple question, and that was: why can't more people make movies completely devoid of villains - with the substitution of smaller, less conflicting problems? Woody Allen is the writer and director of this film; and there's a general sense that he must have asked himself the same questions when he approached the script. Here is a film with a complete disregard for who is good and who is bad; there are …
review by . November 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Midnight In Paris is one of my favorite movies I have seen so far this year. Its more than a love story about people, its a love story written to the city of Paris. The fantasy story about a writing meeting his historical heroes in the city of Paris, is witty, intelligent, and one that I would want to see again. I will be waiting in line for the DVD release.    Owen Wilson is the Woody Allen persona. Woody has not always been successful in finding other actors to give his voice …
review by . January 13, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Owen Wilson stars as Gil, a burned-out Hollywood script writer who's visiting Paris with his fiancée. The couple have very different opinions of Paris and of life in general; she hates the city and wants to hurry back to her Beverly Hills life while he adores Paris and wishes he had lived there in the 1920s. One night, at midnight, Gil's fantasy comes true as he is magically transported to the glittering world of Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, Picasso, and Gertrude Stein.      …
review by . May 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Midnight In Paris' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Feels The Magic In Woody Allen's New Comedy (Video)
   I know critics are supposed to be objective (if that's even possible) but in the case of Woody Allen's new film, 'Midnight In Paris' it's going to be really hard.  I thought it was one of the most beautiful, original, magical and  romantic films I've seen in a very long time.  It completely grabbed my heart.       The film opens with images of Paris...beautiful, moving images.  The lights of the city, the empty streets, …
review by . August 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Midnight in Paris crosses lands of opportunity and delusion in real life. It symbolizes the sane journey of one dreamer to fulfill his personal goals. Woody Allen's new film is also a mash-up between Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the baroque epoque if I could say that. Allen loves to describe cities as people and loves to deliver that suitable atmosphere. He throws a goofy writer, a stuck-up snob, a modern spoiled woman, a classy "femme", and a whole diary of artsy figures …
review by . May 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         There is, I’m certain, inherent in most people a nostalgia for a time and a culture they were never a part of. The reason is that they feel somehow disconnected or ill at ease with the present; they don’t like today’s music, or today’s painters, or today’s writers, or today’s movies. Because they believe everything was done better in the past, it becomes the standard for which all new things are measured. Woody …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #8
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie


Midnight in Paris is a 2011 romantic comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen, premiering at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in May 2011. Produced by Spanish group Mediapro and Allen's Gravier Productions, the film stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Carla Bruni, and Adrien Brody.
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Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Release Date: 11 May 2011 (France)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Woody Allen
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Mediapro
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