I have always believed that every place I visit would have been better in their heyday than it is now, before there was technology that has made the world one global city full of the same places, the same people and the same ideas. Midnight in Paris taps into that nostalgia. I am like Gil in many ways. I would have loved to be apart of the Paris in the twenties. I am like Adriana in that no matter where I am I wish I were there in a different time. I am like Inez because all I want to do is shop and am an intellectual. I am like Ernest Hemingway, Pablo, Luis Bunuel and Gertrude Stein in that I struggle with being an artist every day of my life. However I am not like Salvador Dali and I never will be.
Gil is a man who is stuck in an engagement with a woman he is bored by, a man who is bored by his career as a hack Hollywood screenwriter, but a man who is still idealistic. He wants to be a proper writer. A writer that writes about what he wants, not what the studios want. He wants to live in a place that is full intellectual fervor. Quite simply he wants to be alive. He wants to be an artist.
He walks around Paris, wanting to get away from his girlfriend’s pretentious friends. He walks it slightly drunk and as the clock turns to midnight, he falls upon stairs and a car from the twenties shows up. People in period dress pop out and invite him to a party. He then falls into this wormhole where he is now in Paris during the twenties. Full of American ex-patriots who are enjoying life, enjoying their art and enjoying their liquor, Paris of the twenties is full of characters. He meets F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel, Man Ray, and plenty of other now legendary figures. However at the time, they were going through exactly what Gil is going through. Am I an artist? Am I a good artist? Will I have any impact on the world?
Gil also meets this woman by the name of Adriana. She is Picasso’s lover, one of his muses. However she is more than that. She is a costume designer, a woman full of dreams, full of sexual energy, and full of curiosity. She is in the middle of this Paris renaissance, however she wants to be a part of a different renaissance. She wants to be a part of the Moulin Rouge heyday, where Toulouse le-trec painted can-can dancers and people explored how much absinthe they can take before having visions.
Everyone in this film does an amazing job with his or her characters. Adrien Brody is especially amazing as Salvador Dali. Kathy Bates was perfect as Gertrude Stein, one the best people ever alive. Rachel McAdams is charming even though she is playing a shrewd. The parents of Rachel McAdams are perfect as the cynical uptight Americans (I think Woody Allen takes his inspiration from my parents). However the best two actors are Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard. Their attraction is felt almost immediately and they light up the screen with every word they utter.
Woody Allen is one of my favorite directors because when he gets it right, he makes such an iconic film. This film is one of the best of this year and will definitely be one that I will own on blu-ray. It’s amazing and that is all you have to kn