Why live in the present when there are so many other era’s that are more appealing?
We’ve all thought this at one point of another. Gil (Owen Wilson), the protagonist of Woody Allen’s latest “Midnight in Paris,” fantasizes about the 1920’s. While vacationing with his fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams) in Paris, Gil goes out for a midnight stroll and finds himself traveling back in time to party with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and Ernest Hemingway among others.
But what can Gil learn from the past to help him find contentment in the present and a happy future.
Woody Allen films have always been a bit hit-and-miss for me. “Midnight in Paris” is a definite hit.
The first trailers didn’t impress me much. I thought it was another Woody Allen movie with Owen Wilson as a neurotic writer unhappy with his life and incapable of a steady relationship. Been there, done that. But the more I learned about the actual plot got me curious.
And a quick glance at the cast list on imdb really sparked my interest. Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein? Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali? Appearances by countless other early twentieth century icons? I thought, “What the hell? I’m in!”
From the first scene, I was not disappointed.
This fantastical story is told through the eyes of Gil. The audience identifies with him. He is a discontent, yet successful, Hollywood screenwriter who wants to write a real novel. His fiancee, Inez, is superficial and can only see the dollar signs in Gil’s bank account. We can’t wait till she runs off with the pedantic British guy she went to college with and just happens to pop up in Paris.
What really sells the story is the performances by the actors, especially those playing real people. Alison Pill does an exceptional job as neurotic southern belle Zelda Fitzgerald. All the great artists that thrived in the 20’s have become characters in themselves; personality types that we identify them as. The actors here embody them brilliantly.
The lighthearted tone allows audiences to connect with Gil and experience the magic of midnight in Paris. It’s a film about enjoying the present and not getting wrapped up in a romanticized past. Nothing is as it seems, the grass is always greener, and so on…
You only live once, so you might as well find the best in it. That’s what I took away from my “Midnight in Paris.”