Given that I was just in Paris about a month and a half ago, I wasn’t terribly keen on the idea of watching a movie set in Paris. But it was a Fri night, post-dinner AND I was the one who suggested watching a movie…and there was nothing else good showing (well, nothing else good that the roommate hadn’t already watched) so “Midnight in Paris”” it was. Plus it was a Woody Allen movie so it should be good. right?
Well, here’s the problem: how do you compete with Paris herself? I mean, this film is obviously a love letter to Paris. The shots of Paris are done beautifully and its quite obvious that Mr. Allen is in love with the city. And in order to show off how gorgeous Paris is, he presents us with characters, American Characters, that are quite simply obnoxious. Inez (the irritating fiance), her parents are all portrayed as ignorant, obnoxious americans, their characters as one-sided as can be, along with the pedantic pseudo-intellectual who is an expert on “everything”.
And of course, the famous artists (Dali Salvador, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, etc) that Gil meets in 1920s and 1890s Paris are all cardboard characters since they all help to characterize and define the Paris that Woody Allen (and Gil) love so much. The only 2 real people in this film is Gil (who is basically Woody Allen…just much younger and with a sincerity and down-to-earthness that Woody Allen lost a long time ago) and Adriana (OMG, I’m so in love with Marion Cotillard in this film) who is as disenchanted with 1920s Paris as Gil is with 2011 America.
Paris is the real star of this film, but Owen Wilson did an amazing job and I love Tom Hiddleston as Fitzgerald and I was absolutely bedazzled by Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali. Marion Cotillard was so gorgeous that I think I’m in love with her. And for once, I’m actually really irritated with Rachel McAdams. I have loved her in everything from Mean Girls to The Notebook. I even liked her in The Time Traveler’s Wife. But argh! Half the time, she sounded like she was on stage, and forgot her lines and looked lost, the other half she was just irritating. Definitely not her best work.
On the other hand, I think this might be Owen Wilson’s best work to date (I’m not normally a fan of his…but this might change my mind). That said, I definitely think I’ll be watching this movie again. NOt as often as I watch Love, Actually, but I’ll probably consider buying the movie or going to the theatre to watch this again.