Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Midnight In Paris (9.5/10)

If I saw this movie a month ago it would have undoubtably been in my top 10 movies of the year. In fact, I could make a strong case for it being in my top 3. Midnight in Paris was that good. The film revolves around a character named Gil (played by Owen Wilson) who is on vacation with his fiance in Paris. While walking the streets at midnight, Gil finds a portal (for lack of a better word) to the 1920's and is transported to a golden age of artists and parties. Gil has always been fascinated with 1920's Paris, and his dream of being a part of the city in its heyday becomes a reality when he encounters Hemingway, Picasso, and F. Scott Fitgerald among others. The film wrestles with the notion that the past is always more appealing than the present. Gil is fixated with the idea that the 20's is the ideal decade to live in, but when he gets there he finds that people from that era have a similar fixation with the generations that preceded them. Ultimately the film's director, Woody Allen, conveys the idea that it is not the present that makes life difficult; it is simply the condition of being human. Gil learns that he needs to be satisfied with his present situation in order to truly find contentment. I won't give away the ending but I will say that I loved how Woody Allen wrapped up his story. I reviewed my top 10 movies of the year and I think some adjustments now need to be made. Hugo, The Artist, and this film now fill out my top 3 (sorry Super 8). I have now seen 8 of the 9 Academy Award nominees for Best Picture and I would not be disappointed in the slightest if this film won. You should watch it tonight. Or now. Like right now.


  1. I really enjoyed this movie as well. It tied for 10th on my top ten list (which I still need to publish on this blog). It has been quite some time since Owen Wilson was in a good movie. He fit the role perfectly and did an excellent job. Furthermore, this is one of Woody Allen's best movies in a long time. The only other films of his worth mentioning in the last decade are Vicky Christina Barcelon (2008) and Match Point (2005). I recommend both of those to any of you who have not seen them.

    But back to the movie at hand. The actor who really stole the show for me was Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway. He was was funny, charismatic, and created an amazingly original character considering he was playing a historical figure. Marion Cotillard was equally enchanting. She has has such an effortlessly lovely and mysterious presence on screen.

    Just like you mentioned, Dan, what I really like about this movie is it's theme that we tend to romanticize the past and think we'd be happier anywhere else but the present. What ulimately gives Gil the right perspective is when he discovers that even the historical people he meets in the past wish they had lived in a previous era. No matter how great the times we live in, we tend to think some past era was the "Golden era."

    This movie was all about learning to live in the present and be content where we are in our current situations in life. I could definitely relate to Gil not in the sense that I wish I lived in the 1920s, but in the way that he romanticizes the past. Though I have only lived a short amount of life thus far, I still tend to romanticize the past and think that things were better, easier, etc. "back then." The message I took away from this movie is that no period of time is perfect and we need to learn to live in the present and enjoy our current situation in life. Plus, the movie was just plain entertaining.

    1. Great point Luke. Post your top 10 already!