Sunday, June 26, 2011

Let's Do...A Movie Review: Midnight in Paris

Hello, dear readers,

I have one word to describe this particular film: brilliant. I saw this two weeks ago, I believe, at one of the few theaters in the area that plays "artsy" films. I find it highly upsetting that the mainstream theaters stereotype these films as ones that no one will want to see, therefore leaving us cinephiles to go out of our way to see a movie that is not a blockbuster.

Anyway, here's what one website for the film has to say about the plot:


This is a romantic comedy set in Paris about a family that goes there because of business, and two young people who are engaged to be married in the fall have experiences there that change their lives. It's about a young man's great love for a city, Paris, and the illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better. It stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, and Carla Bruni among others.

In my opinion this is a fairly lousy synopsis.

This movie is really about a man named Gil Pender (the fabulous Owen Wilson) learning to live in the 2000s and discovering what he wants in life through taking a trip into the past. All this is, indeed, done while on vacation with his fiancée, Inez (the lovely Rachel McAdams) and her parents in Paris. Almost immediately the audience can see that Gil and Inez are of completely different mindsets. Sure, they're attracted to each other and they seem to be in love, but Gil is in love with the Paris of the 1920s, and is trying desperately to write a novel about a nostalgia shop, while Inez yearns for That life of glamour that Gil will be able to provide her as a Hollywood screenwriter.

It's almost impossible to review this movie without giving a spoiler away, though I don't consider this a spoiler. So here's a little space for you to decide whether to keep reading the next paragraph, skip to the end, or stop reading.

Does this provide enough space?

Essentially, Gil decides to walk home one night rather than going dancing with Inez and her friends, and, while sitting on the steps after losing his way, the clock strikes midnight and a twenties-style car rolls up and invites him in. Inside, Gil is driven to a hopping flapper party where he meets literary figures such as the Fitzgeralds, and piano and song man Cole Porter. 

He begins going out every midnight, meeting and greeting literary figures and getting feedback on his novel from Gertrude Stein herself (Kathy Bates). Along with getting help for his novel, he also meets a beautiful mistress of artistic men of that time period who teaches him what love should be like. 

From the dreamy opening shots of Paris in the rain, through the gorgeous scenery of 1920s hotspots and the fabulous score full of 20s hits and a memorable theme, this is an absolute treat for the eyes and ears. Top that off with spectacular acting by Wilson, who plays a character reminiscent of director Woody Allen himself, [as there always is one in Allen's films] and a really fantastic cast all around.

This movie entices instantly and makes you care about Gil. It's not really romantic in the sense of a typical boy meets girl; lots of laughter and strife happens in between; boy ends up with girl. It is, however, a tale of self-discovery focusing mainly on Gil's character alone. All the other characters, major or minor, serve to help him resolve his inner conflicts. 

Lots of laughs will be had, though I'm usually one of those people to be the only one laughing in the theater [sorry theater goers; I honestly cannot help it], and there are some poignant moments as well, but nothing is sad about this film.

All in all, I loved it. Sorry for the scatterbrained review. I actually starting writing this a day after seeing the film, and it was probably more organized in my head then.

Anyway, if you get a chance, do go see this film. It's a winner in my eyes.

To drifting into movie worlds...for an hour or two...


Images from:


  1. It's not showing in our local UK theaters at all... :( I was super bummed :(