Woody Allen is one of those legendary directors that’s constantly talked about. That’s largely because since 1966, Woody Allen has released 42 movies. And not only does he constantly release films, but for the most part, they’re also generally well loved. He’s a director that if you tell someone you haven’t seen his films, people are somewhat shocked. Well before this weekend, I’d only seen one Woody Allen film, and it was the 2005 film MATCH POINT, which I quite liked. Now, however, I’ve seen two, and it was a wise decision.Midnight in Paris is about Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson, who is a writer struggling to find his voice on a vacation in Paris with his fiancee, Inez, played by Rachel McAdams. Gil is obsessed with 1920s Paris, which by the end of this film is certainly understandable. One night while having a casual stroll through the streets at night, a car picks him up, and he’s transported to 1920s Paris, where he meets everyone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Hemingway to Gertrude Stein to even T.S. Elliot.
I think it’s fair to say that Owen Wilson should only be allowed to work with Wes Anderson and Woody Allen from now on. On a general basis, I don’t like Owen Wilson; however, here he does excellent work and manages to keep the film grounded. After Gil’s surprise wears off in the film, so does ours, and everything feels natural. Owen Wilson helps to bring a likability to Gil, and you want to see him figure out his life. The entire cast does an excellent job really, with large credit due to Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway.
The whole film, from the opening shots of Paris to the credits, put a smile on my face. Everything in it is just charming, and really captures Paris. If there were ever proof as to why a film should be shot where it’s set, it’s this one. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is Paris. The film captures the romanticism of the city, and just puts it all on display. The cinematography in the film is award-worthy and helps to draw you into the city.
The film is a brisk one too, with a runtime of just about a hour and a half. No scene ever overstays its welcome, and helps to keep the film like a breeze. In fact, my only real complaint is that it ended. I really wanted to keep exploring the world of 1920s Paris, and to see just who Gil could run into next as he jumped from today back to the 1920s.
I don’t think this is exactly a film for everyone, but I certainly think it’s quite easy to be swept away by its simple charms. I’ve been describing the film as simply delightful, and that’s really what the film is. There’s no sweeping epic of a story, or a huge action setpiece, but rather there’s just a wonderful tale of a man figuring out his life. Sure, big films like TRANSFORMERS or STAR TREK are fun, but smaller films like MIDNIGHT IN PARIS are one of the reasons why I love film.