Thursday, 15 March 2012

Gil discovers himself, with a little help from Ernest Hemingway...

Midnight in Paris
10 June, 2011

Directed by: 
Woody Allen

Produced by:
Letty Aronson
Stephen Lenenbaun
Jaume Roures

Written by: 
Woody Allen

Owen Wilson
Rachel McAdams
Marion Cotillard
Kathy Bates
Adrien Brody
Carla Bruni
Michael Sheen

Summary: Gil and his fiancée, Inez, are in Paris with Inez’s parents. Gil, a successful Hollywood scriptwriter, is attempting to write his first novel – where his passion lies – and is completely taken up with the city. Inez on the other hand, cannot understand what is so beautiful or amazing about it. The couple bump into her old friends Paul, who happens to be pretentious and his partner Carole. While Inez is taken up with Paul’s ideas, Gil begins to discover just how amazing Paris is - when, at midnight, he finds himself going on adventure after adventure with the writers and artists from the past whom he most admires. Things begin to make sense for Gil, as his novel develops with help from the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.

My Favourite Scene: I think a particularly good scene was the one in which the two couples visited an art gallery and a painting by Pablo Picasso, which turns out to be the same one him and Gertrude Stein were discussing the night before – with Gil present at the conservation. So, when Paul beings to expound his knowledge of the painting and artist, Gil jumps in with an incredible understanding of it – causing Inez to ask: “what have you been smoking?”

This scene was entertaining because for the first time in the film the pompous, irritating Paul has been silenced by an impossible knowledge of the background of the painting from Gil. Of course, what is so amusing is that it is only the audience who know why Gil knows so much. It almost seems as if he must have spoken to those who painted and influenced it, which he obviously had. His final line: “She was an absolute volcano in the sack”, before causally walking off, leaves the others looking clearly perplexed. It was nice to see the annoying Paul and Inez, who is extremely impressed with him, silenced for once!

My Favourite Quotes: 
Inez: You always take the side of the help. That’s why Daddy says you’re a communist.

Gil: Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the ‘20s. Paris in the ‘20s, in the rain. The artists and writers!
Inez: Why does every city have to be in the rain? What’s wonderful about getting wet?

Gil: It’s understated but elegant. That’s what you always say.
Helen: Cheap is cheap. That’s what I always say.

My Thoughts:  As a bit of a Woody Allen fan, I was looking forward to what he would do with ‘Midnight in Paris’ and it has to be said that it was a little disappointing. Firstly, the characters all appeared to be cameos – and so were predictable in their behaviour. Overall, it seemed the film itself was not so original. The idea of a couple, not fit for each other, visiting a romantic city and one of them finding themselves, rings every much of ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’. I very much enjoyed that film, but was expecting Woody Allen to do something different with his next.

As ever, he delivered a very intelligently witty script. If there was something not so predictable about the film, it was the script. I also think that there were so profound-(ish!) moments. Gil’s realisation that we will always be thinking another time period is better than the one we are currently in, was quite interesting and I liked the overall idea of the film, that by the end Gil had found what he needed – in Paris and the writers who inspired him.

However, the almost Cinderella-style idea of escaping in a carriage to a past time seemed a bit… well, naff. There were parts which seemed quite shallow and for a director like Woody Allen, I would have expected something deeper. It appears that he is moving closer and closer to the mainstream rom-com style of film that he managed to brilliantly miss with ‘Annie Hall’. The neat dénouement ending was something I like ‘Vicky Christian Barcelona’ not having!

Overall, there were some humourous moment and the film was well-scripted. However it seemed a little shallow with one-dimensional characters. I enjoyed it, but felt that it lacked the depth Woody Allen is so good at producing. The film was pretty much a copy of ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ and has only helped in convincing me that I preferred his older work.


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