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After a decade of complicated neuroticism, Woody Allen returns this year with Midnight in Paris, a refreshingly delightful romantic comedy. Albeit incomparable to his comedy classics Annie Hall and Sleeper, Allen succeeds in combining a witty script, professional cinematography, and quality acting against the stunning backdrop that is Paris.
Gil (Owen Wilson) is a struggling novelist with a fiancee (Rachel McAdams) who seems more interested in her pretentious friend Paul (Michael Sheen) than in him. To make things worse, his parents-in-law (to be) hate him, and we all know that never bodes well. All of this is compounded by the fact that he feels out of place, and I don’t mean physical location. Gil, as he walks through the beautiful jardins of Paris, yearns for the 1920′s and the bohemian artists and writers who lived and loved at that time.
Suddenly, by way of an old-time motorcar, Gil is transported back in time to his beloved era, and meets the famed greats like F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Cole Porter (Yves Heck), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo). One takes enjoyment watching Gil party with literary heroes, where, thanks to Owen Wilson’s splendid acting, you can see the excitement dancing in his eyes.
Johanne Debas and Darius Khondji make movie magic with their cinematography, sweeping the audience up in the quiet cobblestone streets of the culture capital. Throw in a warm lighting and flapper couture, and one could swoon for the City of Romance right then and there.
All in all, the charming simplicity at the heart of Midnight in Paris leaves the audience with butterflies and a few simple questions in their conscience. What would you do if you could time travel into a world so different then your own? if you could meet your hero? Gil has a chance for self-exporation through artistic creation, inspiration, and criticism, thus realizing his life is made better through art, thanks in part to his larger-than-life heroes.
That sweet reminiscence and Woody Allen’s characteristic wittiness brings together an all-in-all great star-studded film, a perfect date night movie.