Midnight in Paris (2011)

Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Kurt Fuller
While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.
It may not boast the depth of his classic films, but the sweetly sentimental Midnight in Paris is funny and charming enough to satisfy Woody Allen fans.
  • Sony Pictures Classics Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 10 Jun 2011 Released:
  • 20 Dec 2011 DVD Release:
  • $56.8M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Allen's Dreams are Magical10/10
There's something about the midnight hour, something special, mystical, and magical. In the case of this marvelous movie, its impact is fully realized, as we see our protagonist suddenly realize that he has the opportunity to face that which he truly admires, treasures, and dreams about. In the opening scenes, he expresses his desire to settle in the city of lights, and we know it's not going to be an easy thing to do. His girlfriend and he are quite different in their appreciation of what being in Paris means. She understands it's special, maybe from an aristocrat's point of view. He might be looking at it, as the dream place for an artist to find aspiration to fulfill his artistic goals.

One night, he wanders into the streets of Paris and finds himself lost, only to find himself rescue by a party of night socialites who turn out to be quite famous in some literary circles. Soon, the screenwriter/aspiring writer has an opportunity to see himself living one of his dreams as well as slowly come to some surprising epiphanies as he discovers more and more who his new acquaintances might truly be, and most important what their dreams really are.

The film is set in several time periods, and Paris glows intensely and seductively in everyone of those. From its overcast skies and reflective streets, showing lovely architectural details and its magnificent landmarks to the superb and lovely recreations of older time periods, one can't help being seduced, charmed, and inspired to find a way to show what a special place, and consequently what a truly magical film this might be.

Performances are outstanding all around, with Cotillard once again stealing every second she is on the screen. Through her eyes and carefully delivered lines, we understand what attracts us to this special time and place. She is a gorgeous and very talented performer, one who might be truly aware of her standing, yet she doesn't dwell on it. She attracts many types, but her philosophy is unique, move on, enjoy, live the moment. In a way, she is like the city that has inspired Allen, and many others before him. Paris as a place might not be aware of its magnetism, its beauty, and its power. Cotillard's muse is the perfect human equivalent, a dazzling and potent woman, who moves from man to man, place to place, time to time, and who surprises us with her own wishes near the end of the story.

Wilson inhabits the Allen persona, and he does a very good job, not creating a tired imitation, an annoying cliche that could have ruined the perfect balance of sight, sounds, and insightful dialog, keeping this masterpiece way ahead of the best Allen has offered before. For those of us who gasped during the fantasy sequences of "The Purple Rose of Cairo", the marvelous recreations of the stage in "Bullets Over Broadway", the dissection of relationships in many of his best films, get ready to see it all finally come together, as he picks from the best, and adds his personal touch, with many a funny and clever observation, uttered by Wilson with a honest and complete sense of wonder. Unlike many of his leading men, Wilson displays an innocence which allows him and us to see his adventures in a fresh light.

"Midnight in Paris" is a beautiful display of what movie magic can truly create, a sense of wonder long gone from contemporary cinema; This is a movie that entertains, teaches, and wears each one of its elements, like Paris bewitches us with every light, every facade, and every heartbeat of its music.
Parisian Holiday8/10
"Do you think it's possible to love two women at the same time?," asks our protagonist Gil Prender to a tour guide discussed Auguste Rodin's love for his mistress and his wife. Like that's the first time we've heard that question in a Woody Allen movie. Infidelity, gorgeous women, and neuroticism are some of Allen's favorite motifs, so it's really not too much of a surprise that they all appear in Midnight in Paris.

That said, Allen's rendition of those ideas feels fresh this time. Midnight in Paris is a sweet, fun romp through the art world of France. This light comedy may not have some of the heavier messages about adultery and art that previous Allen films have had, but Midnight in Paris is, nonetheless, an enjoyable exercise in allusion to the Lost Generation and artists of the 1920s.

Midnight in Paris begins with the same idea of a man, in this case a screenwriter named Gil played by Owen Wilson, searching for connection with the real world. The protagonist is clearly a projection of Allen's self, but no matter. Gil is engaged to the Inez, played by a blond Rachel McAdams who coincidentally (or is it?) looks like Scarlet Johansson from Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Inez bores Gil with her pretentious friends and spiteful parents, which ultimately causes Gil to seek inspiration on his own time by drunkenly wandering that streets of Paris. One night, he is invited into a car that takes him back to the 1920s where he meets his favorite writers and artists, something that eventually leads to a breakthrough in his work. A large supporting cast includes Kathy Bates, Allison Pill, Adrien Brody, Michael Sheen, and Marion Cotillard.

Allen's conception of Paris is just as romantic as the story itself. The film's physical look matches some of the complexities of the women in that it appears to be almost splashed in gold. It is, after all, the City of Lights. It's a beautiful movie that matches the pretty faces of its starring women.

Allen's screenplay leaps right off the page thanks to his cast, but this too is something that isn't unusual for a Woody Allen film. At his best, Allen picks actors that play their parts with a sense of realism that, when combined with some elements of the fantastic, charm the audience. Just about everyone here manages to do just this, with the exception of Rachel McAdams, who tries her hardest with an underdeveloped character. Marion Cotillard is the best of the cast (as per usual) in her role as Picasso's mistress. She's bursting with sexuality yet she's grounded in her ability to deliver her dialogue with her natural French accent.

Midnight in Paris is fantastique. In comparison to Woody Allen's previous tales of lust and spite, his newest film feels like a dessert rather than a filling entree, yet this is exactly how a good, highbrow summer movie should be. The cast shines just as bright as the lights at the top of the Eiffel Tower and Allen proves himself worthy of his place in society as a master director once again. By no means a classic, Midnight in Paris is a pretty little diversion, one that is grounded in a theatrical gimmick that totally works every time. This, along with The Tree of Life, will be one of a few summer movies that will dazzle visually (without explosions) and somehow manage not to insult the viewer's intelligence.
Midnight in Paris9/10
Woody Allen's love affair with France, which goes back decades, finds its finality with "Midnight in Paris," the latest of Allen's Parisian brochures, which recently opened at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. The good news is that Allen seems to be paying attention in a way he hasn't always done in recent films, and has found a way to channel his often-caustic misanthropy, half-comic fear of death and anti-American bitterness into agreeable comic whimsy. The nominal point of "Midnight in Paris" is that we've all got to make the best of life in our own time while longing for a past that probably never existed. If anything, Allen seems to be rebuking himself, ever so mildly, for his compulsive romanticism, his obsession with the past and his disconnection from contemporary American life. Allen has baked us a sweet, airy Parisian dessert with just a sense of sentimental substance in the finish. One of his better films in his latter years.
A Magical Mystery Tour De Force10/10
Woody Allen's latest is beautifully written and a charming story that belongs in the top ten of his all-time greats. From the opening montage of lush, picturesque Parisian scenes the film is a love letter to the city of lights. Owen Wilson is perfectly cast as Gil Pender a Hollywood writer who has penned his first novel about a man who owns a nostalgia shop. Throughout his stay in Paris he hearkens back to the iconic characters who once roamed its winding cobblestone streets.

For everyone who sometimes ponders how life would be in another time, this film through whimsical storytelling and pure fantasy transports us. Perhaps that elusive world does not really exist or we are never truly content in whatever station we reside. Gil is enraptured with discovering the bistros where Ernest Hemmingway once wrote or the idea of living in garret with a sky light.

His fiance played by Rachel McAdams who adroitly depicts a character both shallow and blase and content to listen to the pseudo-intellectual musings of her onetime flame. To discuss the plot much further and divulge the magic twist would be a shame.

Midnight in Paris is a gourmet meal of delectably charming and playful scenes. Adrian Brody is riotous as a surreal artist and Kathy Bates deftly evokes a wise and famous writer. A character in the film remarks of seeing a movie but, she cannot recall what it was about or who was in it, not so with Midnight in Paris. It is a sweet, endearing and thought provoking film that will whisk you away into a sublime magical world.
Terrific!10/10
I loved this movie! It blends film noir with Stardust Memories, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and a bit of Annie Hall. The scenes of Paris were enough to make one fall in love. The music was superb! Having all the artists and writers show up was the ultimate name dropping contest! Their caricatures were hysterical! Casting Adrien Brody as Salvatore Dali was mind blowing, along with the surreal discussion about a rhino.

I think Owen Wilson is the best Woody Allen by far. He has a kind of naivete that seems to fit perfectly with who Woody seems to be and the combination of Owen's good looks with Woody's humor is riveting!

Of course the "nostalgia" theme and the -I really want to be somewhere else because it's too boring here- give the story a whole other layer of meaning. For we artists and writers it's one of the things that sparks our creativity, so I loved this discussion and the never ending unraveling the story provokes. While he's entertaining you, getting you to laugh hysterically about it all, you're actually getting the point he's trying to make! There is no one who is so brilliant! Enjoy!