Movie Review: Midnight in Paris
Question: Have you ever gone to a film reluctantly? A lot of times you think the movie isn’t your cup of tea, right? I had to use that expression because my mother wanted to go see the latest Owen Wilson film because she likes him. Yes, my mouth dropped open when she said that. My mom likes Owen Wilson! Not that I blame her, one bit, but I immediately thought she must have seen only Marley & Me and Behind Enemy Lines and not Bottle Rocket, Wedding Crashers or The Royal Tennenbaums. I was right.
However, it was Woody Allen’s latest film: Midnight in Paris that had me questioning the offer of a free movie ticket. I am not his biggest fan, but I do have respect for the film-maker. Nevertheless, you know I am always game to see a film.
As we were sitting in the theater, at noon on a Monday, I noticed there was a certain age bracket that kept walking in. I was not a member of that group. My mom was though. I wondered if they too were Owen Wilson fans, and I started giggling as each person or couple came in. My mom laughed with me once I informed her about my reason for the giggling.
Soon the lights dimmed and the 15 previews finished. Okay, I am exaggerating but even my mother complained about how many there were. Maybe, I got my distaste of previews from her?
The film began and I was getting a little nervous because the opening credits and song went on for an extended period of time — perhaps two or three minutes too long. However, it was bearable for it was showing picture-perfect views of Paris. Then the dialogue began and I knew immediately I was watching a Woody Allen film. Owen Wilson’s voice conversed with Rachel McAdams’ character for about a minute to a black screen. It was quintessential Woody Allen.
Then it hit me: Owen Wilson might have been born to act in a Woody Allen film. Seriously, it was perfect casting. His demeanor and delivery of the overly wordy but brilliant dialogue dripped deliciously off his tongue. I soon relaxed and let the story take me away. And what a wonderful story!
Now, if you like any of the following: Art History, Classic Literature, Musical History, or Film History – you are going to love this movie. Okay, that is about the only hint I will give you about the wonderfully imaginative part of the plot, but rest assured this movie will delight you.
Owen Wilson plays a writer visiting Paris with his self-absorbed, and overly-pampered-by-her-parents-fiancé played brilliantly by Rachel McAdams (complete opposite of her character in Wedding Crashers). He is a writer stuck in a type of career that doesn’t fulfill him and all he wants to do during his trip is walk around Paris soaking in the city’s allure. His fiancé, however, does not so he strolls alone, at night, around the City of Lights. This is something that everyone should do from time to time.
The adventure or quest he takes allows the imagination to soar. It’s a slightly off-beat, Woody Allen-esque temperament story, but told in such an endearing way. I sat there mesmerized. This journey of discovery is one that most creative people must take to find their true passion in life. However, many choose not to take it for financial reasons. Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) happily pursues the mysterious passageway, and we are all along for the ride of a lifetime.
His character felt eerily familiar – not to another fictional personality but something more about yours truly. Spooky!
I loved Midnight in Paris, probably more than most would. First, I studied Art History in college; I recall many of the great authors of our past and envy their talent (especially of late); I am married to a musician and through osmosis picked up many wonderful facts about it; Plus, film, most importantly, is turning into my greatest passion in life.
In fact, I am now on my own creative quest, and I keep getting signs slapped in my face telling me things that will alter my creative life forever. It is scary but thrilling all at the same time. However, Midnight in Paris was not just another one of those signs that only I will appreciate.
The cast of characters played by the following list was a perfect choice of actors to round out this masterpiece: Kathy Bates, who can do wrong in my eyes; Michael Sheen, probably one of the most talented and most diverse actors today; Tom Hiddleston, who I only saw recently in Thor but think he is about to hit his stride in Hollywood; and of course, Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson were a brilliant pairing. This is their second movie together, and I have a feeling it won’t be their last.
I will never go reluctantly to a movie again! Thanks Mom (plus, Owen & Woody)!
My favorite thing: The moral of the story.
My least favorite thing: Nothing — okay, the opening song was a little too long but that is being really picky.
Length: 100 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance.
Review: 10 out of 10
Originally published on Tired of Previews June 15, 2011. Midnight in Paris now available for rent.
Tags: a magical journey, art history, artists, dreamers, Kathy Bates, literature, Michael Sheen, Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Woody Allen, writers