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Woody Allen returns to form
Midnight in Paris(DVD)
Member Name: paulie1975
Midnight in Paris(DVD)
Advantages: Funny, sweet and charming
Disadvantages: Some of the characters ought to have nametags, they are too obviously signposted
I have to be honest and say that recently I've found most of Woody Allen's films deeply flawed, I found Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona to be overlong and as ever more suited to his own personal lusts and desires than the requirements of the watching audience, Match Point was a serviceable story that was let down by prose dreamed up by somebody who had listened to too many Noel Coward songs whilst Cassandra's Dream isn't even worth discussing.
This film for me is the best he has made in many years, it's not overcomplicated, the dialogue is sharp and amusing but also gentle and sweet, the story is enjoyable, silly but utterly enjoyable and the acting is well done, it makes for an enjoyable little piece which I will remember for a long time for its naivety and its love of an era and a city, Paris.
Gill is a Hollywood script writer who is tired of his job, he wants to be a serious writer but has no confidence in his work, he is holidaying in Paris with his fiancé Ines (Rachel MacAdam) and her parents, when they bump into her arrogant old teacher, Paul (Michael Sheen) and his wife, and Gill is subjected to following this frightful bore around town listening to his views and pontifications, one night as Gill laughs off an evening out with the group he is picked up by a mysterious old car with a group of friendly folk and taken to a club where his life and his outlook on life are changed for ever, his experience of Midnight in Paris will shape his life and his career in ways he could never have imagined.
This is a decent cast, Owen Wilson stars as Gill and perfectly plays the role of a Naïve American who dreams of the days of poor artists living in Paris, he wants to live that experience and yet doesn't know much about it. His scenes in particular with Rachel MacAdam as Ines and Michael Sheen as Paul are excellent, in comparison to these weary, slightly sarcastic and knowing characters his innocence shines through beautifully, MacAdam and Sheen are both great in their selfish ways, both constantly thinking more about their own lives than the City they are visiting whilst Gill immerses himself more and more in the culture and lifestyle of the beautiful city, I won't spoil the interesting twist in this tale, but Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill, Corey Stoll and Marion Cottilard are integral to the film and add a sense of charm and perspective which helps our hero reassess himself, his life and his relationship and become somebody he really wants to be.
This is the first Woody Allen film in a long which I have enjoyed and I think it takes a step back from being too pretentious and self-serving, in some respects it is over-reverential about the arts scene in Paris in the early 20th century, but it does find a solution to this by suggesting that people then harked back to an earlier golden age wishing they were there too.
The thing I liked most about this film was that it has heart and soul, you feel for Gill and whilst at times his life seems too easy you do feel for him and want him to be happy even though his dreams are slightly wimpy and outside of the realities of everyday life.
This film is almost that of a man having a mid-life crisis but it is also about somebody wanting to stray from the expected norms of convention and the lives we are expected to lead. The use of historical characters from the past is good, the idea of Gill moving between present and past is whimsical and nonsensical but fun nonetheless and the film passes in a gentle romantic bluster leaving no irritation, no question marks about Allen's intentions and no creepy lingering ideals about why he cast certain females to portray the roles essentially as his main character/his love interests.
If you ever dream of living in another time and place, this sweetly romantic film is for you, if you loved the art scene in Paris during the early 20th century, the references are fun although signposted slightly too heavily at times.
Allen has stepped back from some of the melodrama of his previous films and directed and written with heart and soul, the film is funny, charming and the cinematography tells the viewers how much the Director adores Paris, this is a love story about a City but also a sweet tale about how looking to the past can improve our present.
This film is as autobiographical as ever but steps away from some of Allens odder idiosyncrasies and is a lovely dreamy tale about a man who feels lost in the present day until a memorable trip into his ideal time and place puts this right.
The film is £11.40 on Amazon but I found it enjoyable and so did my family and friends, so I would suggest waiting until it is £7-£8 and adding it to your DVD collection.
Summary: Woody Allen returns to form