Midnight in Paris

Regardless of personal preference, there is always something about the present age that makes you yearn for the better times of past decades. A common gripe nowadays, and in my opinion a perfectly valid one, is that music has lost the style and talent of the glory years. A distinct void of creativity and imagination is what they always say. For Gil (Owen Wilson) in Midnight in Paris, modern literature and writing is what has him missing the golden age of the twenties when the likes of Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway were setting the artistic world aflame with their prose.


Gil is a Hollywood writer struggling to make the switch to novels. While on vacation in Paris with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and her parents, Gil stumbles upon a taxi that transports him back to the twenties where he attends soirees with famous writers, artists and other great individuals. Along the way he learns more about his novel, his love of the past – and women – and where his life is headed.

Everything about Midnight wreaks of highbrow intellectualism. Even writing about it I feel compelled to utilize the highest reaches of my lexical faculties (I’ll try not to). With supporting characters like the pedantic and pompous Paul (Michael Sheen) in addition to the already cultured themes of the film, you are inundated with artistic references and jargon. Some more historically knowledgeable people will decipher the plethora of allusions, but for others, like yours truly, Midnight is simply a chance to get whisked away to the past and enjoy the scenery, occasionally latching onto a line and understanding the reference.

Structurally, the film is great, except the ending – it fit, but I thought it was slightly abrupt. A solid pace is kept and the characters are interesting enough to keep you intrigued about the direction of the film. Luckily, characters like Paul, and even Inez, are only given so much screen time, which squashes the opportunities for them to ruin the film and push you away from Gil’s marvelous journey. The time travel aspect of the film is never explained, but that is made largely irrelevant by the story.

The sociological aspect of Midnight is an excellent insight – kudos to Woody Allen. We will always believe that the past was better than the present. It’s a never-ending cycle that leads to further disbelief in the creativity of mankind and infinite dissatisfaction with current events. Allen finds ways to input his political views into the dialogue, but he keeps a distance between current and past events allowing Gil to grow, while maintaining his famous humor throughout.

Midnight in Paris is not for everyone. The supporting cast is excellent with the enchanting Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Corey Stoll and Carla Bruni to name a few. Midnight is, to be frank, a love letter to Paris and tragic love. It’s a love letter to art and literature and a rich culture built on a fascinating history. Even if that doesn’t interest you, there is still room to enjoy the film. If you can let go of references that are over your head (I had to look up the The Exterminating Angel reference to quell that nagging in the back of my mind), then you will have no problem basking in the splendor of a beautiful city and a contemporary tale of passion.

  1. “Regardless of personal preference, there is always something about the present age that makes you yearn for the better times of past decades.”

    So true…I look forward to seeing this film…..thank you.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: