Midnight in Paris is the newest movie directed and written by Woody Allen, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill, Corey Stoll, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard and Adrien Brody.
Gil (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter who is trying to write a novel. When he travels to Paris with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams), he feels inspired by his surroundings. Inez on the other hand seems to only want to spend time with the pretentious Paul (Michael Sheen). One night Gil goes for a walk on his own, gets picked up by a car and ends up in Paris in the 1920s , his favorite period where he meets F. Scott (Tom Hiddleston) and Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody) and many others. But then he meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard) and they really hit it off.
After the last few Woody Allen movies I saw and really didn’t enjoy, I was unsure whether to watch Midnight in Paris at all. But the cast drew me in and thankfully I did enjoy it more than I feared I would.
For a movie that’s basically one big criticism or at least send-up of nostalgia, it is surprisingly nostalgic itself, though it is less nostalgic for a certain time than for a place – Paris, where the people are not as shallow, where the creative juices flow more freely and where existence is generally better.
Woody Allen is still very much out of touch with life as it is for people who don’t have shitloads of money. It’s amazing how far removed his world is from mine (and I’m not really poor, even if not rich). But at least in this instance it wasn’t completely annoying.
Even though most of the characters are pretty one-dimensional (especially Inez suffers from this) and the name dropping gets a bit much, the cast is the movie’s best quality. Tom Hiddleston and Kathy Bates shine and Michael Sheen is basically the personification of the dictionary entry on “Pretentiousness”. But the best moment was definitely when Adrien Brody turned up as Dalí. First of all, the likeness is scary and second of all, “Rhinoceros.” Just look at this:
Despite the shortcomings, the movie moves along at a good pace and has some very nice moments. It is entertaining and sweet and funny.