Midnight in Paris
starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrein Brody, Michel Sheen and CarlaBruni
written and directed by Woody Allen
I didn’t know this was a Woody Allen movie when I rented it. If I had I might have postponed it because although I was an Allen fan many years ago I have grown tired of him. But I knew about the plot of Midnight in Paris and I wanted to see it for that. A man travels back in time from the present to Paris of the Roaring Twenties every night at midnight, in a magic car. There he meets many of the great and famous literati and artists of the day. That’s what hooked me.
Woody Allen may be a genius, but he is also one especially annoying git!
Owen Wilson plays Gil Pender, a Hollywood screenwriter who wants to be a novelist. He idolizes Paris of the Lost Generation and his midnight journeys help him bring focus to his life and his work. In the present world he is on the road to a disastrous marriage with an incompatible woman, so it is easy to peg his nostalgia as Golden Age escapism. Of course it is, but that doesn’t mean that his night time experiences are not real.
The lesson here is the obvious one that there is no Golden Age. In any time there ere people who longed for an idealized past. Paris of the 1920s had its merits, but characters like Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald were alcoholics on the road to ruin. I probably wouldn’t have liked to hang around with them.
Gil is really annoying as Wilson hauls out the entire body of Woody Allen personality quirks: his non-stop stream of chatter; his hyperactive fidgeting. Those effectively spoiled it for me. Woody Allen may be a genius, but he is also one especially annoying git! When I saw that the movie was not going to be what I hoped it would be I seriously considered stopping it mid-way, something which I am loath to do.
Carla Bruni, wife of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, appeared as a tour guide. Interesting.