Midnight in Paris (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
Nominated for 4 awards, of which it won 1.
Nominated for Best Picture (Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum), Art Direction (Anne Seibel, Héléne Dubreuil), and Directing (Woody Allen).
Won Writing–Original (Woody Allen).
Watched September 21, 2012.
I have heard many things about Midnight In Paris, the good and the bad, and after reading several reviews have come to the conclusion that you will either love this film (head over heals), or will be indifferent with a leaning toward dislike. If you are a Woody Allen fan, it is likely you might class this film among his best. The Academy is certainly a huge fan of his work. In the past few weeks I have discovered that I differ from the Academy in this regard. I find the cynicism of his characters dull and predictable and would rather be enlightened by refreshing characters. Despite this, there were certainly aspects of the film that I enjoyed.
It is spring time in Paris, and the cinematography stresses the beauty of the city, particularly in the rain, which is when the main character Gil (Owen Wilson–the Allen replacement) is happiest. He is a Hollywood screenwriter who is trying his hand at writing the next great American novel. His deepest desire has become to move to Paris, but his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams), who spends all her time shopping, would much rather live in the States in the suburbs and grow up to be exactly like her parents, who ironically also happen to be in Paris. From the start, it is clear that Gil does not fit in with her family, and their relationship seems more convenient to her than deeply passionate.
I won’t say much else about the plot, because if you haven’t seen it I would rather not be the one to give away the main plot twists. There are two driving forces behind this film, the most transparent of which is the idea of nostalgia. Many writers and lovers of culture fall victim to this tempting view of the past, and Gil is no different. He is obsessed with Paris in the twenties. He claims that everything moves too quickly now, and that it hurts the originality and creativity of the present. So many greats were born in the 20s–Hemingway for example–that he idolizes the era as much as the artists.
The other subplot is, of course, about love, but is a little more deep than your average romantic comedy. As was said in the Daily Mail, “Life and art are both worth the most meticulous re-examination and a life without art or romance is one that’s only half-lived. Moreover, Allen argues — in an entrancing final scene — lasting relationships are built not on lust or love at first sight, but on understanding based on shared tastes.”
The cinematography is fairly good, as well as the scripting. Allen’s witty diatribes have still not abandoned his films, which despite their generally negative view of life, still leave me a little breathless in their use of the English language. The acting was average, and the final scene between Gil and Inez is a letdown. I’m not quite sure that any aspect of the film truly resonated with me and I will be honest in saying that it is not something that I will likely seek out to watch again.
If you are a fan of Woody Allen, Paris, or Owen Wilson, then by all means this should be a film that you see!