Saturday, June 18, 2011

Midnight in Paris: Movie Review


   


Paris and literature taken to golden heights of intelligence and humour.
Have you ever wanted to see Owen Wilson play a modern day Alvy Singer and then transport him into the 1920s? I'm assuming that nobody other than Woody Allen has even thought about doing that. But trust me, now you'll want to see it. "Midnight in Paris" pairs ingenious casting with Allen's usual parade of characters (a neurotic writer, a right-wing Republican ignoramus, and a pedantic know-it-all) and places them in Paris.2011

Directed by: Woody Allen

Screenplay by: Woody Allen

Starring: Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams

Left to Right: Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams). Photo by Roger Arpajou
© 2011 Mediapro, Versátil Cinema & Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Woody Allen movies are typically described as a love affair with the city, but this one is just so much more. It's not just a love affair with Paris, but with the romanticism of Paris, and with the idea of the best years of the city, and a love affair that is too crazy to be real that we don't even call it cheating.

Left to Right: Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill) and Gil (Owen Wilson). Photo by
Roger Arpajou © 2011 Mediapro, Versátil Cinema & Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
Here we get a romantic comedy, and at the beginning, one that appears that it could be a very standard romantic comedy. But we flirt with philosophical notions of loving and living in the past, and of wanting to live in a time that has past, and then we heavily flirt and engage with the golden-age of literature. That's where the intelligence, education and Allen's pure intellect come in, but he makes it hilarious, not heavy.

Left to Right: Gil (Owen Wilson) and Gabrielle
(Léa Seydoux). Photo by Roger Arpajou © 2011
Mediapro, Versátil Cinema & Gravier Productions,
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
"Midnight in Paris" is, quite literally, one of the smartest and funniest movies I have ever seen. It's almost as smart as "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) and just as funny as "Annie Hall" (1977). It will take a few more years and viewings before I can officially place it in that order of Woody Allen's best films, which for the most part is the same as the world's best films. But after the best night out at the cinema I have ever had, I have no doubt that's where "Midnight in Paris" will go.
Best of 2011




Recommended:

Annie Hall (1977) - A funny, intelligent, and extremely well written romantic comedy.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Way more dramatic, but Woody Allen's philosophy on life and everything is prominently displayed.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) - Woody Allen's modern romantic comedy with American girls falling in love in Spain.