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Friday, July 8, 2011
Midnight in Paris - 2011
Gil (Owen Wilson) is an acclaimed screenplay writer that wants to leave his old life behind to live in Paris while becoming an author. Oddly enough, he is traveling with his soon to be wife, Inez (Rachel McAdams) to Paris, though she strongly disagrees with him about where they should live once they are married. The vacation begins to take a wrong turn, and one night when taking a walk through the streets Gil seemingly goes back in time. Here he faces all of his heroes, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and many more. He also meets a young woman named Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who he begins to spend most of his time with. Whether it is an illusion or not, Gil cannot decide, but through his experiences he begins to take a look on his real life, and question his decisions.
Well, as you can see Woody Allen's story isn't the most original piece of storytelling there ever was, but there is something very special about Owen Wilson's character, Gil, and how he is mostly the victim throughout the film, though as it goes on we begin to love him more. That's why Midnight in Paris works as well as it does, what it lacks in original story it gains in the strength of memorable characters. The character of Inez is really horrible to watch, as she so poorly treats Gil for most of the film, but Woody Allen does such a good job writing the characters the audience rightfully does not care for Inez.
The supporting characters are pretty basic, as most of them were famous writers of some sort, but I will say that from what I know of Ernest Hemingway, though I have no respect for him as a writer, seemed like he was written in the exact way he was in real life.
Woody Allen seemed to have a a very unique directorial style, which is one I really enjoyed watching in this film. Allen's direction was very clean, not at all daring, but in such a case as this it did not need to be. Allen wasn't trying to make a masterpiece, he was just trying to do his job, and that is to craft a beautiful and enjoyable comedy that when we leave the theater, leaves us with a good, happy feeling, and even possibly making the audience wish for a second viewing. Woody Allen's crafting of Midnight in Paris was not perfect, but he certainly got the job done.
The acting was sharp, and borderline excellent, except for of course Corey Stoll as Earnest Hemingway who was absolutely terrible. Kathy Bates was Kathy Bates, expect no more or no less. Adrien Brody was unfortunately not in the film enough to make a difference. Marion Cotillard was good, but I have seen her do much better performances before, such as Public Enemies, the film that introduced me to her. Rachel McAdams did a fine job with her role, if the audience is supposed to hate her and does, then it must be good acting. Unless the acting is so beyond ridiculous that no one wants to see her, and that is obviously not the case here. But, above all of this all star cast, the person who stood out to me the most was Owen Wilson. He was funny, though when needed could be serious, and coming from someone that is so big on comedy, it's not always easy to do. He plays the role of Gil incredibly though, and if you are a fan of his I would suggest going and seeing this movie today, you will love it.
Overall, Midnight in Paris does not quite pass for my favorite film of the year, as I think Super 8 still holds that title. But it is a charming, sweet, and funny romantic comedy that is so light and enjoyable, with no ups and downs, I cannot imagine anyone not at least somewhat liking it. And don't forget the great music and absolutely stunning scenery throughout the film. I doubt we will be seeing many Oscar nods here, but Midnight in Paris does its job.