I thought the trailer for this was pretty mediocre. Had no intention of seeing it. The reviews started pouring in and they were all pretty spectacular (92% on RT). Had no intention of seeing it. A few of my friends saw it and gave me good word of mouth about it. Had no intention of seeing it. I had an extended weekend, though, and I had the option at one point of taking a mid-day nap or seeing a movie… …so I finally saw Midnight in Paris…
For someone who makes a movie every year for the last however many years, Woody Allen’s track record is hard to keep positive. Even his pairing with Larry David for Whatever Works was horrible. I thought that was one of the worst movies of 2009. But Midnight in Paris on the other hand I would lean towards the positive.
In classic Woody Allen fashion, it was oozing with a “socialite in despair” vibe. That’s usually when he shines best. Owen Wilson was good in the main role, as a successful screenwriter/struggling novelist who gets drunk while vacationing in Paris and time travels and meets a bunch of classic 1920s creative types for inspiration. A bit of a nonsensical premise, but that’s the charm. Overall though, this premise was interesting but also kind of pointless. It was more or less a fun romp of name dropping a bunch of classic writers and painters. It might excite some people to have a movie featuring F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, but if the intent was to get excited whenever he ran into someone new, which is what it seemed like was the intent (Salvador Dali! Pablo Picasso!) it didn’t work on me. But Hemingway was awesome though. I would have rather watched a biography about this portrayal of Hemingway to be honest.
I guess the whole point of the movie was about finding inspiration, and it made a few interesting points about art and creativity and such. Definitely would be a more likable film to someone if you’re into classic art and literature. But it’s one of the fluffiest, lighthearted movies I’ve seen this year regardless. Funny too, one of Woody’s best comedy scripts in years. I suppose it makes an interesting comment about eras as well, about how no one thinks the era they currently live in is interesting while they live in it, even if it’s a legendary time. Then it becomes a dream within a dream, with the 1920s people going to the 1890s, and… …wait a second… dream within a dream…? Marion Cotillard is there…? …Inception in Paris…?
Aside from Rachel McAdams character being underdeveloped and irrational, the rest of the characters were good, and the acting was great. I think most of all it works as a love letter to Paris, full of great scenic visual stimuli and culture. Worth checking out. Better than a nap.
7 out of 10