Ok, I have a confession. I haven’t seen a Woody Allen film in the theater since, oh, maybe Shadows and Fog? And th e last Allen film I saw at all was Match Point. Yeah, I know, that’s reprehensible for someone who claims to love movies.
Ok, I have a confession. I haven’t seen a Woody Allen film in the theater since, oh, maybe Shadows and Fog? And the last Allen film I saw at all was Match Point. Yeah, I know, that’s reprehensible for someone who claims to love movies. But it seems Woody Allen’s track record has been more spotty the past ten years. The highs seem less frequent than the lows. Ok, not lows, per se. I mean, we ARE talking about Woody Allen here. His lows are most peoples average. And out of sheer percentages, he probably has more successes than most. He’s written and directed almost one film a year for the past 47 years, and even acted in most. You’re bound to have some just ok films in all that time.
Luckily, however, Allen’s new film, Midnight in Paris, is one of his finer creations. It’s full of wit and fun, and for the romantic at heart. Midnight in Paris is full of love for the City of Light and for the artists that inspired creative people everywhere.
In this romantic comedy, Gil and his fiance’ Inez travel to Paris with her parents on a business trip. Gil is a screen-writer trying to write his first novel. He falls in love with the city and wants to move there after their wedding, though Inez does not share his romantic ideas of the city or his belief that the 1920’s were the golden age. While Inez goes out dancing with friends one night, Gil spends some time walking around Paris and happens upon perhaps the greatest inspiration for writing. However, these midnight walks, though they take him closer to the heart of the city, may also pull him farther from the woman he is to marry.
Owen Wilson plays Gil, and whatever troubles Wilson had a few years back seems not to have been a bother to his acting abilities, because he is quite good here. He’s understated and regular guy-ish. It’s still light, but his affable nature works to Gil’s character. It would seem Woody Allen brings out the best in him. It’s a good thing, too. Owen Wilson was already easily falling into the “Oh, crap, I have to do another lame comedy with Vince Vaughn.” This might actually have saved Wilson from a Hall Pass 2, or voicing another Marmaduke movie. It actually gives him some acting cred, and good for him. Rachel McAdams plays Inez, and she is good, too. And terribly easy on the eyes. Frankly, everyone is great here, especially all the people that play various writers and artists that were so popular or active in the 1920’s. You’ll see Cole Porter, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, and many more. All of them have an impact on Gil as they fuel inspiration, love, and most importantly insight into his own life via “the grass is always greener”.
I won’t go into how all this happens. I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say there is some fantasy elements here, but you don’t really care about any explanation. It all seems perfectly natural.
There is definitely much love for Paris in this film. And much love for many artists, and writers that lived or spent time there. It’s beautiful settings are obvious. Hey, it’s Paris, how can you go wrong? And this film is funny – a grown up kind of funny, which is a rather nice change of pace from the multitude of Hangover movies we are, and will soon be, subjected to in the years to come. And perhaps that’s part of what I love about it. As much as I might hate to admit it, I’m an adult and sometimes an adult comedy is what I want. Woody Allen has made a great comedy for people who are tired of fart jokes. This is full of ART jokes. Ha. See what I did there?
Allen has definitely made a winner with Midnight in Paris, and I most certainly recommend it. Easily four kittenhands here, folks. A veteran film maker that still knows how to make a great film. Who knew?! 😉
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, really pleased with this change of pace.