Monday, April 9, 2012

Midnight in Paris (2011)

I may have opinions on Woody Allen's moral code, but I will never deny the brilliance of his movies.  I don't think I could come up with one that I haven't liked.  I've not seen all of his older movies, but would, with much enthusiasm, recommend Match Point, Cassandra's Dream, and Vicky Christina Barcelona.  This stuff is as good as it gets.  So I didn't have any qualms about renting "Midnight in Paris".  I knew it had charming references to the art and literary world.  I love Rachel McAdams.  And it was nominated for an Oscar!  Lots going for it.


Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a successful screenwriter but aspiring to write a novel.  He is a goofy, romantic dreamer that asks the unlikely, guileless question and is quick to spin a fantasy.  He is vacationing in Paris with his materialistic fiancé Inez and his future in-laws, and is a little restless.  He is in love with the city, and wants to move there, but isn't interested in following around Inez's pretentious friends, touring the typical Parisian attractions.



Gil and Inez
One night, while Inez and her friends go out dancing, Gil wanders the streets, and upon the strike of midnight, is lured into an old Peugeot taxi who is also transporting F. Scott Fitzgerald and his beloved Zelda.  Gil connects the dots and determines that he has been transported back to the 1920's, his era of choice.  He returns to this spot at midnight again and again over his vacation, and gets drawn into the art and literary society of the times, rubbing elbows with not only Fitzgerald, but Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, Gertrude Stein, Dali, Picasso and more.  But his world stops when he meets the beautiful Adriana (Marion Cotillard).  He begins to wonder about his life's path and the woman he has promised to marry.


F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda
I'm a little taken aback and confused that this movie was nominated for an Oscar.  It was charming and fanciful, but I'm not sure why it was ever considered to be worthy of a statue.  However, I did really like this movie.  It made my heart warm.  I think I might even need to watch it again.  Maybe THAT is the reason why is was nominated.  Hell, what do I know.

I did feel that Owen Wilson was perfectly cast.  He has always had that bumbling way about him, no matter what part he plays.  His mannerisms actually reminded me of a younger Woody.  And despite the fact that I love Rachel McAdams, she was loathsome in this film.  Narcissistic and self-absorbed, dismissive, and completely obnoxious, I was really hoping and praying that Gil would give her the boot.  It is a real testament to her acting skills that I hated her.   


Hemingway

I believe the real joy in this movie lies in its deference for the arts.  Anyone who loves the classic authors, musicians or artists will most likely feel themselves get all wistful and enchanted when these greats come alive on-screen, all in one place.  It was a literary delight for me personally, in the perfect setting of Paris.  I sat there with a silly grin on my face for the entire movie. 

So Oscar material?  Not really.  A romantic feast of all things cultural in the Jazz Age?  Absolutely.    







20 comments:

Jenny said...

Even though it's not necessarily oscar worthy, it sounds sooo good! I already have this on my netflix queue and look forward to watching it!!

JoAnn said...

I loved this movie! Your review makes me want to watch it again...

bermudaonion said...

There were several movies nominated this year that I just didn't get, including this one and Moneyball. I like both movies but didn't think they were the best of the year.

One of Woody Allen's movies - Annie Hall - is on my list of all time favorite movies.

Meg @ write meg! said...

My grandma rented this one recently and called to tell me I just had to see it! Everyone knows grandmothers know best, so I'll have to take her up on that... and your thoughts have me eager to check it out, too. Totally agree that Owen Wilson has a "bumbling" way about him, and I guess that's what endears him to me. :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree - I thought this was charming at best.

caite said...

don't get me started on Woody..and the blind eye so many in 'the arts' turned on his actions.
while I really liked his early movies, I refuse to put a another penny in his dirty pocket.

wow, I am in a harsh mood this morning..lol

Trisha said...

Half the time I don't understand award nominations; it's one of the reasons I rarely bother paying attention to them despite the fact that I teach film studies. :) I do want to see this one though because of the literary characters.

ds said...

I feel wistful and enchanted already. Thanks.

Amy said...

I loved this movie. I don't know about what makes something worthy of being nominated for an Oscar always, but I liked it better than say..The Descendants.

Zibilee said...

I just got this one from Netflix and have convinced Frank that we need to watch it tonight. It sounds like such a warm and wonderful film, and I need that in my life right now! Great review today!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I loved it too! It was just a celebration of jazz age authors and artist and it was so much fun. I agree, not really a best picture nominee in my mind, but I had a blast watching it.

Carrie K. said...

I, too, was wondering why the Oscar nomination - but I loved it anyway. :)

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

God, people keep telling me to see this and I still haven't. I'm notoriously bad at movies but this one has like my favorite writers as subjects so I need to just see it already!

Tasha B. said...

I liked it better than Hugo, that's for sure. I think both of those movies prove that once you reach a certain status in Hollywood, you'll be nominated for an Oscar even if you direct a movie about grass growing.

softdrink said...

I almost refused to see this because it was a Woody Allen movie (not a fan). Luckily, my mom talked me into it. I loved seeing all the authors and artists cruise in and out of scenes...I think Hemingway was my favorite.

Beth F said...

I really like this one but I don't think it was Oscar worthy. Very charming.

Julie P. said...

Sounds like a fun way to spend an evening.

Amy said...

I haven't seen this movie yet and I really want to. But I was surprised it was nominated for an Oscar, too. It just didn't sound like Oscar material. But it sounds like a fun, cute movie which is good enough for me.

Woody Allen has made some very good movies in the last fe years but I think his best movies are behind him. He made some amazing movies years ago

The Bumbles said...

Well I had no idea what the hell this movie was about when it came out and so I ignored it completely. The trailers were confusing and uninformative. Your post here makes the film sound positively interesting! I find Woody Allen to be hit or miss with me - so now I'm curious to see how this one goes down...

Kathleen said...

I really want to see this movie. I have to admit I've only seen a few of Woody Allen's films but I have enjoyed the ones I have seen.