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Midnight in Paris
- Director: Woody Allen
- Release Date: May 2011
- Run Time: 94
- Genre: Comedy, Romance
Woody Allen comes back to his essential film making direction with “Midnight in Paris.” He has been around the block going for comedy and romantic satires, and the forays into somebody else’s dramatic formulae. Woody puts some juice behind the opening scene. Allen’s love of Paris is evident to the tuneage of Sidney Bechet on saxophone. The film maker goes for the romantic jugular from scene to scene, with each one going more deeply into his romanticism over a city many have fallen for over the past centuries. Paris is Paris, but this is Woody’s take. He doesn’t seem self-conscious or concerned about losing you as he indulges his lenses in his favorite city on Earth.
Owen Wilson is Woody’s lead male in the film, Gil. Gil is on holiday with his fiancée played by Rachel McAdams. Inez has her parents along, played by Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy. Gil is trying to be an artist (a screenwriter of course) and he is completed taken by the Paris of his 1920s fantasies when the great ones prowled the streets. There is plenty of room in the film for banter and contemplative mood making. Woody pulls it off as you can feel his eyes looking around the City through Gil’s aspirations and softly covetous nostalgia for the bygone era of the greats.
Gil, like most of Woody’s leads he played himself, is undermined by his accompanying vacationers. Gil’s intellectual landscape is peppered with conversation fragments he imagines among the elite writers and intellectuals of post-war France of the 20s. Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Picasso and Stein--- their sinewy dialectics take Gil over; and he is moved to share at times only to be snarked back to reality by his future mother-in-laws rumblings about traffic snares. When Inez’ old boyfriend shows up, Gil is treated to some ham-fisted cultural one-upsmanship on the meaning of French names for cities. Yawn. No fooling? Gil begins to wonder what he is doing there. But, oh well, it is a Woody Allen film. The lead is schmucked by love.
Gil takes flight from the subtle disfavor of the future in-laws, and Inez’ obvious lingering feelings for “Paul”, and winds up exploring Paris on his own. He takes up a touring companion, a designer named Adriana who is ably played by Marion Cotillard. Gil’s an expert on the greats and Allen leads the viewer through Gil’s ongoing fairy tale imaginings of being there while it was all going on. The “fam” is left in the background to a somewhat boorish continuance throughout the film. They might have been a little more interesting, but that may have detracted from Owen Wilson playing a serious writer.