Midnight in Paris (5/2/12)

Midnight in ParisMovie One Hundred Ten

Midnight in Paris is one of the few Woody Allen films where he remains behind the camera and lets an actor (in this case Owen Wilson) take the main role.

In the film, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter writing his first novel who has traveled to Paris with his fiancee, Inez (Rachel McAdams), for a vacation with her parents. Gil is truly the odd man out, even with Inez’s friends. One night after a party, Gil is walking alone when an “antique” limousine approaches and the occupants welcome him inside. He discovers he has traveled back to the 1920s, an era he had previously wished to have been a part of.

For the most part, Midnight in Paris works fairly well. It captures some of the most romantic ideas about Paris culture throughout the past 100 or so years and if nothing else, solidifies our love affair with the city. Although it’s a bit of an atypical Allen film, it works. I found the people in Gil’s present-day life to be insufferable, it made me grit my teeth at times. In fact, they made me lose some interest in the film.

When Gil is in the 1920s meeting celebrities of the time, Midnight in Paris becomes a wonderment, but for the most part, the present-day sequences just grated me. Perhaps it would be more tolerable on a second viewing. I should also point out that Owen Wilson bugs me in most films, but I think he fits in quite well with Allen’s persona and sense of humor. He’s part Wilson and part Allen, not quite taking his role to the levels of an impersonation of Allen, but dialing it back enough so that it’s uniquely him.

I am far from an expert on Woody Allen films, but of the handful I have seen, I would rank Midnight in Paris somewhere in the middle. It almost seems like the Woody Allen film for people that don’t care for Woody Allen films, so take that as you will.

I give it 3 I really wish Nick Offerman played Ernest Hemingways out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


25 responses to “Midnight in Paris (5/2/12)

  1. I’m not a fan of Woody Allen films or Owen Wilson (usually), so this film didnt do much for me.

  2. It’s probably one of the better Woody Allen films in recent memory. I enjoyed the film more than you did, but I agree that the present day scenes were a little slow.

    Nice review.

  3. Aww, I loved this one. I don’t understand how so many people don’t appreciate Woody Allen. Maybe it’s because I love him, but I don’t know. His humor is so unique, I think, and there have been times that I’ve laughed myself blue of his films. Great review.

    • It’s possible I need to have more Woody Allen films notched in my belt before really appreciating a film like this. I think I went into it thinking it wasn’t going to be film with his trademarks all over it. Thanks!

  4. i just can’t watch woody allen films anymore, not after he married his step-daughter. i can’t respect him at all. he has a couple of brilliant books, and his movies from the 70’s were nothing but brilliant – but i can’t watch his work anymore. he had two rules for comedy, two rules for what is funny. 1. have people react crazily to a normal circumstance. 2. have people react normally to a crazy circumstance. his early fiction inspired a couple of my short stories, but nothing that i have on my blog. regardless – i can’t watch him. “broadway danny rose” is superb, but i can’t watch it.

    • I’d like to back Woody Allen up for any wrongdoing of his, since I love his work to death, but something like marrying your adopted step-daughter, I find morally wrong on so many different levels, and so utterly disturbing, that to try and consider what in the hell was going through his mind when he married her, and what in the hell goes through his mind every day to keep him from mentioning a divorce, would pain me. I know some people (like him, clearly) believe in things like that, but personally, I’d say it’s one step below incest. Let’s set aside the fact that she’s related to him, and we still have an age difference of 35 years, which I’d say is a bit creepy. That’s like me marrying one of my mother’s friends…ugh, get that image out of my mind, give me a lobotomy, whatever necessary!!

      His moral character we’d both say is wrong, I’m right with you there. But I don’t agree that that’s a good reason to not watch his films. I’ve seen around 8-10 of his works since I first discovered him in November of ’11, and I’ve only found one unsatisfactory one: Scoop, with him in his last starring role (until To Rome with Love comes out this year), along with Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman. I think I already posted I comment saying that why so many people don’t seem to appreciate this man is beyond me. His directing is pretty good, his acting is fine, but his screenplays make him a GENIUS!!!

      • most of the rolling stones lead questionable lives, but i still listen to their music. one has a wife whom he was “dating” when she was 16 and he was in his 40’s. but it wasn’t the adopted daughter of his common-law wife. his work is brilliant, i know, i’ve been watching him for 40 years – but not anymore.

    • My mom is the same way, I don’t even remember what movie I was talking about with her (maybe Match Point?) but she was having none of him. While it bothers me, I can still remove that from my viewing. Same with Polanski’s films. Although now that I’m thinking about it I may have more hesitation on the issue…

  5. I’m a big Allen fan and I LOVED this movie. It wa smy favorite of 2011. A dream. And about Nick Offerman, he has the Hemingway look down, but Corey Stoll did a wonderful job. Enjoyed the cinematography, the music, Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hiddleston, Allison Pill and, of course, Adrien Brody as Salvador Dalí. Pretty much everything, I guess. Agree that the present-day characters are assholes, that’s kinda the whole point. What I had a problem with is identifying what Gil saw in Inez to start with. She’s a huge, stuck-up bitch and he’s the opposite.

    • I was really pumped for it after reading your review, something about it just didn’t do it for me. I’m not sure if I can blame my distaste on Owen Wilson really gave me a negative bias or what. Yeah, all the supporting cast was great but as soon as Hemingway popped on screen I was like “aw man, that should totally be Nick Offerman!”

  6. I’m a big Woody Allen fan but I have to agree with you on this one Andy. It was a good film but far from his best. I actually think it was quite overrated from last year.

  7. Honestly as a huge Woody Allen fan I got to say this was a nice return to form for him. Quirky and well written. I thought it was some of his best work in years.

  8. I’ve never been a big fan of Woody Allen, but I did like this movie. Even though I have positive view of this movie, I was surprised that it was nominated for an Oscar. I didn’t think it was that good.

  9. Pingback: May Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

  10. I guess I may be in the minority here, but I actually think this is one of Allen’s best. It captures everything that makes Allen great: a witty script, a poignant indictment of “high culture,” and heart. It was actually my introduction to Allen, but aside from Manhattan, I think this may be my favorite of his films. Stuns me that he followed up this gem with the awful To Rome With Love… Anyway, I enjoyed your review!

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