Newest Review: ... feel. This is a very atmospheric movie, its clearly very nostalgic and quite sentimental. Its pretty slow in pace and a little confus... more
Woody Allen goes back to 1920's Paris
Midnight in Paris(DVD)
Member Name: cerys82
Midnight in Paris(DVD)
Advantages: Well acted, funny in places
Disadvantages: Overall a bit dull, forgettable
I have watched a number of Woody Allen over the years and as you would expect from his prolific output, I like a lot of people have found them to be hit and miss but I have to say that I was quietly optimistic with this one.
The story revolves around Gil who is played by Owen Wilson. He is visiting Paris in the present day with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) in order to gain inspiration for a novel that he wants to write so that he can stop being a Hollywood scriptwriter. His planned blissful time there is interrupted however by his ambitious and controlling fiancées insistence that they spend time with her overbearing Republican parents who are highly disapproving of his artistic endeavours and a pretentious and domineering friend of Inez's (played by Michael Sheen) who may or may not have romantic designs on her.
Frustrated and still nursing a bad case of writer's block he decides to take a midnight walk out on the streets of Paris when a old-fashioned car pulls up and the passengers summon him in. He then finds himself transported to a bohemian party in 1920's Paris where he firstly encounters F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and then over the following nights he also meets Picasso, Salvador Dali, Hemingway and Luis Brunel and gradually starts to piece together a novel whilst increasingly falling under the spell of both Paris and a mistress of Picasso's (played by Marion Cotillard). His unbelievable night time escapades soon make him question the decisions he is making in the present.
On the good side: it does contain a lot of the tropes that the better Woody Allen films have. The dialogue is witty and sassy, staying on the right side of comedic rather than over-the-top. The performances are also great, as you would expect from the cast involved which also includes cameos from Tom Hiddleston, Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody in 1920's artistic incarnations. Owen Wilson in particular is a bit of a revelation, taking his slightly over-confident persona that he normally displays in films and playing it down a little whilst having a lot of fun with the character.
The time-travel trope is obviously slightly bonkers and it doesn't really go into the whys and wherefores of that, and why would it, its not a science-fiction film but I would imagine that it would probably bother some people. Obviously, even within the fantastical nature of the plot, the whole thing is contrived to say the least done with such a lightness of touch and knowingness that I found it quite easy to get past it.
No filmmaker does loving, longing shots of a city that he admires like Woody Allen does and he certainly does an amazing job of how he makes Paris look and certainly makes it look like a character and makes you want to go there. He certainly appears to be having fun with the fact that the story requires him to shoot extensively both during the day and night.
On the bad side: I'm afraid to say that to be completely honest, my overall impression of the film is that as pleasant and well put together I found it a little dull and lifeless for quite a lot of the time. Despite the fantastical premise I cannot help but think that it was a little too staid and perhaps didn't work hard enough to draw the audience in.
Another thing I will say is that whilst I think I have pretty good literary knowledge (less so artistic), but I definitely felt that there were probably quite a lot of jokes that I missed out on because I wasn't necessarily hugely knowledgeable about some of the characters involved so if you are you might well get more out of it humour-wise.
Overall, I have to say that perhaps it was my fault for having quite high expectations beforehand but I was quite disappointed with this film. As much as I liked the individual performances and the overall feel of the film, I can't help but have been left a bit cold by the whole thing and I do not think that it will stay long in my memory.
Please note that this DVD does not have any extras other than options for subtitles and audio description.
Summary: Slightly disappointing