I feel the need to preface this review by saying that I am almost completely unfamiliar with the work of Woody Allen. I'm not proud of it. I've heard people say left and right that Midnight in Paris is his best film in almost two decades but that's a sentiment that I can't share even if I wanted to. I'm sorry if this inconveniences you, but I simply cannot compare it to his other work.
I can tell you, however, that Midnight in Paris is absolutely magical.
I'm partial to stories about writers, which this happens to be. Owen Wilson plays Gil, a screenwriter who at times has less-than-kind words to say about his talent. I believe the word hack was mentioned. Gil is in Paris with his fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy). Despite everyone's best efforts to ruin the trip, Gil is having the time of his life. He longs to break away from the screenwriting business and write a novel and thinks that Paris is the just the place where that can happen. Unfortunately, nobody else seems remotely capable and possessing the same type of idealism.
Fortunately for Gil, he catches a car at midnight every night and it whisks him away to a land inhabited by great artists like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso.
I've never been a big fan of Owen Wilson but he's great in the film. Not only is he at his most likable, but Gil is one of the most likable characters I've ever seen, period. He's such a honest, genuine human being who only wants to connect with others in an effort to enrich his life and he's surrounded by such selfish people, you can't help but feel heartbroken over it. And when he starts to enjoy the Paris night life and integrate into that author's fold that he so wants to be a part of it, you can't help but share every bit of his joy.
Michael Sheen needs to be mentioned. Michael Sheen is fantastic in every role he plays and this is no exception. As Paul, a friend of Inez and supposed friend of Gil, he's detestable in the funniest way. On the surface he's the sweetest guy, not because he's a good person, but because he wants to give that appearance. It's more fun to hate Paul than most supervillains.
Woody Allen often weaves himself into his movies and with Gil being a screenwriter who's disappointed with himself, you can't help but wonder how much of that reflects the true Allen. I don't think he's actually disappointed with himself, but he has entertained the notion, and he found the notion to be funny. I find it funny, too, and I now consider myself a huge fan of Woody Allen.
What do you think of Midnight in Paris
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