I can honestly say I’ve never seen a movie with Owen Wilson in it that I didn’t love, and in which I didn’t love HIM . That’s why renting “Midnight In Paris” (which was one of the Oscar nominations for best picture) really was a no-brainer for me. My opinion of a Woody Allen movie, on the other hand can go either way. You’ve got “Annie Hall,” one of the best movies of all time, and movies like “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Match Point,” and “Hanna and Her Sisters,” that are all winners. But Woody Allen movies like “Hollywood Ending” give me cause to believe that even an amazingly talented writer, director and actor can screw up once in awhile. So, you never know.
After watching “Midnight In Paris,” I can safely say, Allen did not screw up. This movie was charming, smart, funny, romantic and sweet, and no, I’m not confusing the movie with Wilson himself, although the actor is all of those things, too. Throw Rachel McAdams in the film as Wilson’s girlfriend and co-star, and Kathy Bates (who’s good in EVERY movie) as the great writer and poet, Gertrude Stein and you’ve got a cast that makes me realize just how brilliant Allen can be.
“Midnight in Paris” is the story of an engaged couple, Gil and Inez, who are vacationing with her parents in Paris. Gil, a successful Hollywood writer who’s trying to become a novelist falls in love with the elegance and history of Paris, while Inez views it as a fun vacation with great shopping. The two start spending time with family friend Paul (played by Michael Sheen) and his wife Carol (played by Nina Arianda) and that’s when things start getting interesting. Inez seems taken with Paul, and Gil would rather be spending time touring his new favorite city than hanging out with the overbearing intellectual guy who’s constantly trying to impress his fiancé.
One night, Paul invites the couple to go dancing. Inez happily accepts, but Gil declines, and on his walk back to the hotel he meets a group of people who magically take him (and us) into the 1920’s, where Gil mingles with greats like author F. Scott Fitzgerald, composer Cole Porter, actress Josephine Baker, artist Pablo Picasso, writer Ernest Hemingway, and writer and poet Gertrude Stein (played by Bates.)
Gil is enchanted with his newfound era and begins wandering the streets of Paris every night for the opportunity to spend time with his new friends, in particular Adrianna (Picasso’s mistress) with whom he’s utterly enthralled. His journey of hobnobbing with the greats unexpectedly begins helping Gil learn a lot about himself, his relationship, and what he wants out of life.
The only thing that kind of bugged me about “Midnight In Paris” was Inez. She was a complete biatch (no offense) with no redeeming qualities, and I wondered why Gil was engaged to her in the first place. It was a bit unrealistic, although McAdams played the role spectacularly, making me hate her the entire time.
“Midnight In Paris” made me feel like Gil did, fascinated by the allure of the 20’s and caught up in the elegance and charm of Paris, and the magic that can happen when one’s soul is captivated by the city of love. “Midnight In Paris” is a movie I could watch again and again, possibly one of Allen’s best films. And as far as my Owen, as always, he didn’t disappoint. The wedding crasher charmed me, and I rooted for him and adored him throughout this film.
“Midnight In Paris” is one of those feel good movies, sprinkled with Woody Allen quirkiness, and romantic enough to make anyone watching it believe that if something feels right, all your dreams can come true.