Midnight in Paris (2011)

Paris is a wonderful, cultured city and in Woody Allen’s 2011 film it’s literally magical.

Screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) and his fiance Inez (Rachel McAdams) are on holiday in Paris with Inez’s family. When Gil goes for a walk around Paris at midnight he finds himself back in 1920’s Paris  meeting novelists and other creative figures from the era. Soon Gill is taking nightly walks back into the 1920’s while Inez’s family grow infuriated with Gil’s secrecy.

The film is about nostalgia and living in the past. Wilson’s Gill enjoys the 1920’s so much he might miss out on what is happening in his present, and right under his nose. Yet it’s easy to see why he’s so enamoured by the past where he’s viewing the creativity and passion of those around him. Compared to his successful but dreary life as a Hollywood screenwriter he feels inspired by their presence of such figures from the past with such creative freedom. The premise also gives plenty of opportunities for cameos for such figures as F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston)  and Gertrude Sten (Kathy Bates). There’s also another great supporting turn from Michael Sheen as the condescending friend of Inez.

On the downside this film is probably best enjoyed if you know your 1920’s writers and artists. Some of the figures I recognised but some of the in-jokes flew right over my head. It may find itself alienating some viewers. Also I know Inez and Gil are meant to be a couple that are obviously unsuitable for each other but they have such different opinions on everything that it’s hard to believe they would have been a couple in the first place. Inez’s parents also come across as caricatures rather than real characters.

What holds this film together is Owen Wilson, he makes a likable lead that is perhaps a bit too obsessed with the past. He makes it easy for us to believe in the set-up and to enjoy the film in general. It’s a gentle and pleasing movie that isn’t too demanding on your time or your mind.

Rating 3/5 – Charming and easy watching but not necessarily essential viewing.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Midnight in Paris (2011)

  1. theipc

    You know what? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Woody Allen movie…

    • Some can be quite good, others I’d give a wide birth. If you did want to watch any of his movies Hannah and Her Sisters is very good, and of his recent ones I liked Vicky Christina Barcalona -which if nothing else has a girl on girl scene with Scarlett Johanson and Penelope Cruz.

  2. Showed that Woody still had fun, original ideas, and was also still willing to go as deep into them as he could, while also maintaining his sense of charm and wit. Good review Lauren.

  3. Also I know Inez and Gil are meant to be a couple that are obviously unsuitable for each other but they have such different opinions on everything that it’s hard to believe they would have been a couple in the first place.

    I was in on the jokes so I was fine with that but your lines above were my main gripe with the film. I did like it a lot more than you . Cool review as ever though 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the film. I think I just wish I was a bit more cultured so that way I’d get more of the jokes and references in the film.
      Also glad you agreed with me that Inez and Gil would probably never had been a couple in the first place. It would have been nice to have a scene to show them getting along or have something in common to show how they would have gotten together.

      • Are you a fan of Woody Allen overall? And you are on the wall of fame 🙂 I thought I’d put you up ages ago

      • I like some of his work, although some films are a bit uneasy to watch with all the cotraversy he’s surrounded in-Manhatten for example with that relationship with the 17 year old girl makes for uncomfortable watching.
        I think I am in the Wall of Fame, either that or I’m imagining it-which I wouldn’t put pass me wither 🙂

      • I didn’t like Manhattan but I did love Annie Hall. A masterpiece. Ha, no you’re up. Hope more people find you 🙂

  4. One of the things surprised me about Midnight in Paris is how likeable and what a good actor Owen Wilson is, I’m familiar with his crass comedies. It seemed naturally effortless for him to deliver Woody Allen lines. Good review Lauren!

    • you’re right it does show us how likeable owen wilson is, and that theres more to him then we see in his usual roles. I hope he does more films like this.

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