I love Woody Allen and I’m sure once I visit, I’ll fall in love with Paris but I was less than in love with Midnight in Paris. It was definitely an entertaining film and I enjoyed the path it took, but as I tend to stray toward the stranger, more black comedy Woody Allen films, I wasn’t as taken by this film as much as some, including my all-things-Parisian mother. Nonetheless, here’s what I thought!
It’s raining historic artists in Paris
Woody Allen’s newest feature, Midnight in Paris, is a fun-loving story straight out of a Francophile literary enthusiast’s wildest dreams. Featuring many of Allen’s most recognizable filmmaking traits: credit voiceovers, writer protagonists, relationship analysis, and yet, surprisingly, the characters have none of the expected neuroses.
Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a successful screenwriter who is fed up with the Hollywood lifestyle. Upon a trip to Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and in-laws-to-be (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy), he discovers there’s more to the City of Lights than meets the naked eye. After a series of midnight rendezvous, Gil is left to decide between his Malibu future or living out his dream of writing a novel in the greatest city in the world.
While the film indeed possessed the necessary qualities of a true original screenplay and the character performances were well on par, the set and costume design seemed a bit cheesy and overproduced at times. Without giving too much away, the film takes on a time travel scenario where viewers are forced into their surroundings with stereotypical costumes and some dialogue that mimicked that mild cheesiness.
The actors did well to portray their cultural counterparts. Ernest Hemingway (Carey Stoll), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) were in company and a cheeky cameo by Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali added to the mystical nature of Gil’s historic surroundings. However, after awhile, it became a bit like Woody was name-dropping his favourite artists and not one was to be forgotten. Characters that seemed to develop alongside Gil were soon squashed by other notable names filling the cast roster and distracting from the actual storyline.
While audiences received their happy ending, it wrapped up far too quickly putting too much emphasis on his relationship with the 1920s “artist groupie” Adriana (Marion Cotillard) which is obviously on a route to nowhere. While it was this relationship that led him to some life answers, it lacks in developing a reliable romantic storyline to follow.
It was entertaining and original and featured interesting and unique music, but Midnight in Paris felt too much akin to your typical chick flick and, while I’m sure is deserving of its Academy nominations, it didn’t feel like your typical Woody Allen film. Still, as always, its always worth your own time to check it out.
Midnight in Paris is the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay and Best Art Direction.*Image courtesy of http://suitesculturelles.files.wordpress.com.