It’s been a long time, blame the holidays. I am now coming back to review a movie that is light, entertaining, and funny, perfect for those well-earned vacations ! Anyway, this is now the third time that a Woody Allen movie appears on this blog, and I have to say, even though this is not his best movie, Midnight in Paris is still rather enjoyable, with a great cast : Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Michael Sheen (Blood Diamond), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Adrian Brody (ThePianist), Kathy Bates, and even our very own Gad Elmaleh, Léa Seydoux and Carla Bruni !
Gil and Inez are engaged and are travelling to Paris. Gil is a struggling writer who falls in love with Paris and thinks Paris in the 1920s was the Golden Age, whereas Inez is just your average superficial, normal girl. When Inez goes off dancing with some friends, Gil walks around Paris at midngight and is suddely taken back to the 1920s, where he meets Hemingway, Man Ray, Dali, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, etc… He doesn’t ask questions and just takes the adventures as it comes, which takes him further away from Inez.
I am not a fan of Owen Wilson, and Marion Cotillard is truly beginning to get on my nerves, yet I found this a pleasant comedy to watch.
The movie deals with escaping where you are and always thinking « it was better before ». Ultimately we are stuck in the present, and the movie eventually shows that once you have accepted it and stop chasing rainbows you are ready to be happy. The opening shots of Paris, and actually all the shots of Paris, are breathtaking – I even had difficulties recognizing my city. I enjoyed seeing shots of Giverny (Monet's gardens), where I have been recently for the first time, pure coincidence. The rest of the cast is excellent and, every time we encounter a new character, it is someone famous! : I loved seeing an appearance by Adrian Brody, who impersonates Dali. Every artist portrayed is fun, with a humorous cloud around them. No comment on Carla Bruni’s appearance, tasteless, but high five to Gad Elmaleh, I found it hilarious when he gets stuck in the past.
One needs imagination to watch this: it is of course highly unlikely, and we never get an explanation as to how Gil manages to be back to “today” every morning.... It is a fantasy, a mix of dream and reality. If you are more like Inez (McAdams) in character (sceptical, rational, down to earth, falsely intellectual) then you stand no chance of liking this movie – I like the actress and here I found her character just highly unpleasant.
Inez: You always take the side of the help. That's why Daddy says you're a communist.
Ernest Hemingway: It was a good book because it was an honest book, and that's what war does to men. And there's nothing fine and noble about dying in the mud unless you die gracefully. And then it's not only noble but brave.
Gil: You can fool me, but you cannot fool Ernest Hemingway!
On the downside, all the story is a bit predictable: Inez’s parents are war overdone, the affair with Paul is obvious, and one could have guessed the end. This is a film that you have to watch without really thinking about the discrepancies, the clichés, and you’ll spend a very enjoyable moment. It is not up to other Woody Allen movies but it is worth the time.