“Midnight in Paris”

“Midnight in Paris” with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams (2011)


Midnight in Paris” is one of those films that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled.  It is a superb film that warms your heart and provides an ending that is satisfying as well as heartfelt.

As I have mentioned in prior posts my family holds an Oscar party every year and one of the many films contending for an award was “Midnight in Paris.”  Woody Allen is heralded as genius in some circles and an odd duck in others; personally I have not watched enough Woody Allen films to judge for myself, but after seeing Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” a plus one tally will most certainly be placed in my proverbial Woody Allen productive column.

Essentially, the film follows Gil (Owen Wilson) as he visits Paris with his soon to be wife, Inez (Rachel McAdams).  Throughout the exposition Gil expresses his regret of leaving Paris in his younger days, because at his core he is a helpless romantic who wants to a successful novelist akin to his idols of the 1920’s Parisian writing scene.  He has an immense amount of nostalgia for the era, and holds 1920’s Paris to be the golden age of writing.

Ernest Hemingway played by Corey Stoll

His fiancée and her family don’t understand his love for literature or Paris and treat him as a pariah.  Gil is so soft-spoken and placid that he often doesn’t reply to their jabs and rather retreats into his nostalgia.  One evening Gil decides to walk off a bit of drunkenness by hitting the Parisian streets and wandering a bit to gather his thoughts.  Lost, he stumbles upon some steps, takes a seat, and waits to gather his bearings.  The clock strikes midnight and a car pulls up.  Partygoers playfully shouting in French urge him to get in and after only a little bit of goading he finally agrees.

Unsure at first, he eventually comes to realize that those steps at the stroke of every midnight acts as sort of hub to another time.  Gil, in essence, is transported back to 1920’s Paris where he gets to meet and converse with all of his artistic and literary idols including, but not excluding: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and T.S. Elliot.

The film then chronicles Gil’s personal journey as he learns about love, writing, and nostalgia.  Overall, “Midnight is Paris” is fantastic romp through literature, history, and romance.  It is a wonderful film that brings 1920’s Paris to life, but breathing a stellar sense of realism to the individuals that shaped the era.  Anyone who calls them self a writer should watch this film.  Whether you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned legends, or not, it is a rare glimpse into a period of time that defined generations of art aficionados and enthusiasts.

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