Thursday, 13 February 2014

[Movie Review] Midnight in Paris (2011)

Movie Title: Midnight in Paris
Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics
My Rating: 4.5 of 5


Midnight in Paris is an American romantic comedy fantasy film about Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), a successful but creatively unfulfilled Hollywood screenwriter, and his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), are in Paris, vacationing with Inez's wealthy, conservative parents. Gil is struggling to finish his first novel, but Inez dismisses his ambition as a romantic daydream and encourages him to stick with the more lucrative screenwriting. While Gil is considering moving to Paris and continues with his novel writing, Inez is intent on living in Malibu. By chance, they are joined by Inez's friend Paul (Michael Sheen), a pedantic pseudo-intellectual who speaks with great authority but questionable accuracy on the history and art of the city. Inez admires him, but Gil finds him insufferable.

One night, Gil gets drunk and becomes lost in the back streets of Paris. At midnight, an old-fashioned car draws up beside him and the old-fashioned passengers urge him to join them. They go to a party for Jean Cocteau where Gil comes to realize that he has been transported back to the 1920s, an era he idolizes. He encounters many famous and historical (but dead) writers and also artists. Every midnight, he will wait at the same spot, and the old car will always come to pick him up and bring him back to the ‘golden age of Paris’ – according to Gill. On other night, he meets Picasso’s mistress Adriana (Marion Cotillard) whom he is instantly attracted. Adriana says that she is hooked by few lines from Gil’s novel and has always had a longing for the past, especially the 1890's. Gil spends the next few nights in the past with Adriana and realizes that he is falling in love with her, leaving him in conflict. 

Gil discovers that Adriana is also in love with him, and as they kiss at one night, they are invited inside a horse-drawn carriage and are transported back to the 1890s – an era Adriana considers as Paris's Golden Age. Adriana is offered a job there, and proposes to Gil that they stay. Gil, however, upon observing that different people long for different "golden ages", realizes that despite the allure of nostalgia, it is better to accept the present for what it is. Adriana elects to stay in the 1890s, and they part. When Gil returns to 2010, he finds out that Inez has a fling with Paul, and he starts to be convinced that he and Inez are not right for each other, so he decides to break up with her and moves to Paris. Taking a walk across the Seine at midnight, Gil meets Gabrielle, an antiques dealer whom he met before, who apparently shares same interests with Gil, so he offers to walk her home.

It’s a unique movie, a different kind of fantasy. Well, it is usual to travel back in time, but I find this one is really interesting. Not just because it involves writers and arts, and also Paris, one of my favorite cities, I’m just attracted to the simple but brilliant plot. It’s not that simple, though, it’s genius! Frankly, I watched it because there’s Rachel McAdams there – one of my favorite actresses, but then, I found it very impressive, not just because of her. She’s not the center of attention, apparently, but yeah, she’s really good. And also other casts who are really talented. It’s an open ending, but I guess everybody knows what’s gonna happen next, or at least, we can guess. Paris is an awesome setting, in any era. I love it!

I also posted this review on my Bubblews account. Check it out!

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