There’s no doubt Midnight in Paris will be hailed as a return to form for Woody Allen. Regardless of the quality of his most recent films; Midnight would still suffice as a charming, witty and funny film about nostalgia, love, culture and inspiration.

Owen Wilson stars as Gil Pender, a screenwriter taking a break from Hollywood in Paris, a city that confirms his status as a hopeless romantic. During his stay he’s in the throes of penning his first novel while preparing to wed his fiancée Ines (a suitably pretentious Rachel McAdams). Lacking the required creativity to finish his book, he wanders the streets of Paris only to get lost. When the clock strikes midnight, a cab comes to pick Gil up and he’s transported to 1920s Paris.

…a fine film with some sparkling performances

The premise is totally ridiculous (time travel!) but it’s endearing in a magical way. During his time in 20s Paris, Gil falls in love and spends time with cultural icons like the rambunctious Ernest Hemmingway (Corey Stoll), Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill), while also managing to dally with Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody, having a lot of fun).

Although there are some references that could go over your head, the ones you do catch will leave you smiling. Gil’s romance with Marion Cotillard’s muse Adrianna is a warm one, both performers easily slipping into a romance that you wouldn’t think feasible at first.

The magical reality that Allen brings evokes a sense of a cultural Golden Age…

The performances across the board are engaging, whether it’s Wilson’s starry-eyed turn or Ines family and friends who hit the right note of being equally obnoxious and vapid. The magical reality that Allen brings evokes a sense of a cultural Golden Age and provokes a dilemma in Gil as to whether the past is better than the unsatisfying present.

Less a travelogue of Paris like some of Allen’s previous films have been, Midnight in Paris is a fine film with some sparkling performances.

5 Stars

Image courtesy of Midnight in Paris

 

 

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