After suffering mixed reviews with last year’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Woody Allen returns to the Director’s chair with new feature Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen.
Wilson plays Gil, a liberal Hollywood screenwriter who travels to Paris with fiancée Inez (McAdams) to meet up with her (very conservative) parents who are concluding an international business deal. Gil longs to ditch his day job and become a successful novelist, and finds the sights of Paris to be a catalyst for his creativity. His sceptical fiancée however, seems more interested in shopping and the opinions of pompous academic Paul (played by Sheen). Disillusioned with his current situation, Gil wanders the streets of the French capital alone, wishing he was alive during the 1920s when Paris was bursting with artistic genii like Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso. Low and behold, after a heavy night’s drinking, and the strike of midnight on an old Parisian clock, he is transported back in time (via a 1920 Peugeot Landaulet) to meet his idols and influences in person.
Midnight in Paris sees Woody Allen return to fine directorial form and after a disappointing run of films, this is his best in years. Although initially dubious about the casting of Wilson, I was impressed at how the Darjeeling Limited star handled portraying, essentially, Allen himself – tweed jacket and all! Former Wedding Crashers co-star McAdams shines as his cynical partner and there are excellent cameo appearances from the likes of Kathy Bates, Adrian Brody (as the eccentric artist Salvador Dali) and French First Lady, Carla Bruni. Special mention must also go to the enigmatic Marion Cotillard who plays post-war love interest Adriana, who, like Gil, believes Paris’ best days are in the past.
The cinematography of the feature is fantastic, capturing Paris in an almost ethereal way. After seeing the film, I had half a mind to go to a travel agent and book the first flight to Charles De Gaulle airport. The actors look comfortable and you get a real sense that for everyone involved, it was a fun picture to make. Therefore, I suggest you follow the results of the TCJ poll and go see Midnight in Paris. You won’t be disappointed.