“Midnight in Paris” movie review

Hemingway talks about the fear of death in the latest Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris.” This is one of Allen’s themes that visits often in his films.

This is the Golden Age; “Midnight in Paris” is effortlessly lovely

by Nick Christian, Editor-In-ChiefPDFPrint

Volume 16, Issue 34

June 14, 2010

The CNM Chronicle gives “Midnight in Paris” 4.3-of-5 stars

Woody Allen’s 45th directed film “Midnight in Paris” is aesthetically appealing, whimsical, and harkens a respect for the past in a world society that perpetually looks to the future.

“Midnight in Paris” (Which was writ­ten and directed by Allen) stars Owen Wilson as Gil Bender on vacation with his fiancée Inez, played by Rachel McAdams.

The movie begins with a series of shots of Paris land­marks, some in regular weather and some in rain, synched to change shots along with the upbeat in the score. Like other Allen movies, the first dialog is heard from Gil against the black title credits which progress to reveal Inez and Gil walking through Monet’s Garden in Giverny.

Throughout the early daylight scenes of “Midnight in Paris,” Gil and Inez walk through a series of landmarks. Gil, an American television writer working on his first novel, professes his love of the city of Paris, how the people operate and his desire to live, write there while Inez cannot wait to return stateside.

Gil and Inez are in Paris along with Inez’s parents John, played by Kurt Fuller, and Helen, played by Mimi Kennedy, who are in town on a business venture for John. Along the way Gil and Inez meet up with Inez’s Gil-termed “Pedantic” friend Paul played by Michael Sheen and Carol played by Nina Arianda.

Paul invites Gil and Inez along with he and Carol to tour Rodin’s museum where Paul proceeds to give a tour to an attentive Inez and Carol, and an unwilling Gil.

There is a shot in front of Rodin’s museum where the two women follow Paul with a rapt focus while Gil follows as if he becomes more uninterested and annoyed at Paul with each step he takes. It’s in a scene like this where Wilson shines play­ing the Allen surrogate role of Gil. While Wilson may not appear as cynical or sharp as Allen would in the role, there is a believ­able mocking quality to the way Wilson plays the character.

After a day of listening to Paul bemoan about the history of Paris and the various works of art that contribute to the city’s prestige, Gil excuses himself to walk around the city. Eventually Gil finds himself lost on the streets of Paris, and sits on a city street stairway in the Latin Quarter. As the clock strikes midnight a Duisenberg strolls up to where he is sitting and the inhabitants of the car invite him to come along.

After Gil gets out of the car, he finds himself in the 1920’s France world of Cole Porter (played by Yves Heck) music, late-night parties and stimulating conversa­tion. Eventually, he finds himself talking to Zelda (played by Alison Pill) and Scott Fitzgerald (played by Tom Hiddleston) and joining them in escaping the boring party in which they go to a bar where they meet up with Ernest Hemmingway (played by Corey Stroll).

Throughout the process Gil is entranced by each author or artist he meets. After asking Hemmingway to read his novel-in-progress, Hemmingway declines but prom­ises to bring him to the only person he trusts with his work, Gertrude Stein (played by Kathy Bates).

During the next day Gil tells Inez about his night and she devalues everything he says. Throughout the day the growing disconnect between Gil and Inez becomes more obvi­ous as they argue over where they should live after getting married.

The next night Hemmingway takes Gil to Stein where he is thrust into an argu­ment between her and Pablo Picasso about a painting. The painting was a portrait of a woman, Adriana (played by Marion Cotillard), whom Picasso had been seeing. Gil talks with Adrianna in the next room and they bond over a common bond, a love of the past.

There are many great performances in “Midnight in Paris,” the most notable being any with Hemmingway. Stroll plays an engag­ing Hemmingway who rivets all he talks to with poignant words and elegant phrases. Throughout the movie Hemmingway deliv­ers bits like “All Cowardice comes from not loving,” and “You will never write well if you fear dying.” But the best bit of Hemmingway in this movie is a conversa­tion between him and Adrianna at a party thrown by the Fitzgerald’s.

Hemmingway says to Adrianna, “Have you ever shot a charging lion?” Adriana responds no and Hemmingway responds with “would you like to?”

Bates is also brilliant as the poetess Stein. She is forceful and abrupt which allows her to motivate Wilson in his writing career.

Cotillard is, as Wilson describes, “Effortlessly Lovely.” The chemistry between Adrianna and Gil is enchanting and propels the movie forward.

Lastly, McAdams is abrasive as Inez which is most likely the point of her char­acter. She constantly puts down Gil which makes her character hard to care about.

The movie has been proclaimed in many critics reviews as a love note to Paris. While each image on screen is beautiful and filmed with the perfect amounts of light, weather and blocking, the content of the movie seems to be more focused on Allen’s post famous career.

Wilson plays a writer trying to find a living where he isn’t a corporate hand making things that are moronic and simplis­tic. He hates the fact he spends his life ridi­culed by pedantic people who have no clue what they are talking about and indoctrinate the naively willing.

What Allen is beckoning for through a love letter to Paris is a return to writ­ing or self-expression before the corporate takeover of the arts realm. In the words of Inez in an early scene, “Midnight in Paris” Is Allen willfully stating that he would give it all up just to struggle.

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