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Midnight in Paris

A 2011 movie directed by Woody Allen.

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Midnight in the Garden of good and...good.

  • Jan 9, 2012
**** 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 no "sides". There is only humanity. And yes, there are small problems too; but can we really be human without them?

Owen Wilson stars as Gil; a struggling former Hollywood screenwriter who is just now attempting to write his first full-time novel. He's staying in Paris with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), along with her parents. You could say that the couple has hitched a proverbial "ride"; they made the trip to Paris only because Inez's folks were already going, and it's as simple as that. Anyways, I find myself side-tracking a bit; although I suppose that's an easy thing to do after just recently finishing a film so utterly mesmerizing.

Accompanied by family friends Paul (Michael Sheen) and Carol (Nina Ariana); the group decides to do some sight-seeing. Gil finds Paul's intellectual attitude to be off-putting; and he's the first to suspect a near-future of possible adultery when sparks seem to fly between his polar opposite and his fiancé. One night, the two are invited to dance with the other half of their quartet. Inez tags along while Gil walks the streets of Paris til' midnight. He thinks that maybe - just maybe - he'll get some inspiration and confidence to go towards the benefit of finishing his novel.

When the clock strikes Twelve, magical things start to happen. It's as if Gil has traveled back in time; scratch that, he definitely has. Here we have a modern day writer who gets to go back to the days that he's yearned to revisit all his life; those days in which his influences so happily prospered. He discovers a pattern; that every midnight, he shall be granted the rare opportunity of revisiting a lost era. He takes full advantage of this opportunity; and in his travels he becomes closely acquainted with the following people: Cole Porter, Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill), Ernest Hemmingway (Corey Stoll), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Josephine Baker (Sonia Rolland), Juan Belmonte, Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), Pablo Picasso), Djuna Barnes, Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), Man Ray, Luis Bunuel (one of my favorite filmmakers, period), T.S. Elliot, Henri Matisse, Leo Stein, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, and Edgar Degas.

Most importantly, there's also a charming young woman named Adrianna (Marion Cotillard); who becomes Gil's new-found love interest. He really seems to connect with this woman; even though it's made perfectly clear that this world of 1920's Paris flashbacks exists entirely in Gil's mind, meaning that the love is ultimately forbidden. Nevertheless, he learns some valuable life lessons and makes some difficult decisions upon visiting these time periods and spending time with these delightful, artistic people. And we get to share the excitement and the joy of the moment; that is one of the film's many defining qualities.

I said there isn't a villain in sight; and so there isn't. Sure, Gil's relationship with Inez is threatened after he falls for a beautiful figment of his imagination - but wasn't it clear from the beginning that the two were starting to drift farther and farther apart? I thought that Allen let his audience know when the film began what the final outcome in this relationship was going to be; and that is indeed called predictability, but it's the kind that's almost entirely intentional.

Besides, who cares if "Midnight in Paris" is predictable? It's still a damn good movie. Watching it was like a well-deserved session of pure relaxation; engaging dialogue and conversations shared between intriguing characters and caricatures of famous, past artists; excellent performances (Wilson, in particular, gives one of his best yet); and Woody Allen's humanistic observations. Every character in the film feels natural and real; thanks to the keen, intelligent writing. In the end, I suppose it's also such writing that makes way for a lot of laughs and a lot of our sympathies; and as an audience, we cannot complain given the presence of those two things.

Here's the bottom line: this is a wonderful, completely entertaining film. It's Woody Allen's best in years, even, and once it sucks you in; you won't want out. In fact, you're likely to willfully stay for the whole ride, I mean: why wouldn't you? Paris is a beautiful place that once was home to some beautiful people; and Allen takes full advantage of that fact. His recreation of the city from an artistic perspective of both the past and present makes for a lot of the film's charms; of which there are plenty, plenty more. If you do intend on seeing the film though, I suggest you do some research into the names that I mentioned earlier; because I suspect that the more you know, the more you'll comprehend and appreciate. Who knows; I might read up some more myself on these fabulous faces, and perhaps afterwards I shall revisit "Midnight in Paris" and adore it even more. I don't doubt that it contains such cinematic magic.

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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 . 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 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Allen Lets Go
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS   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, …
review by . May 18, 2011
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   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 …
review by . July 15, 2011
A magnificent motion picture!
It has been nearly 25 years since I checked out a new Woody Allen film.  I was a huge fan of his work in the late 60's and the 1970's but for the most part Woody kinda lost me after that.  Several weeks ago a friend called me raving about "Midnight In Paris".  He didn't tell me a whole lot about it but assured me that I would love it.  I took the day off today and one of the things on my "to do" list was to check out this flick.  I went to …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … 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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