Genre: Fantasy • Comedy • Romance
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen
Language: English, French
Duration: 94 min.
A romantic comedy that follows a family staying in Paris for business. The party includes a young engaged couple that has their lives transformed throughout the journey. The film celebrates a young man's great love for Paris, and simultaneously explores the illusion people have that a life different from their own is better.
Midnight in Paris is a film written and directed by Woody Allen. It premiered out of competition as the opening film at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Starting off with a postcard perfect montage showing an idealized day and night in the City of Lights, Allen sets us up for the charming and fanciful mood of the rest of the film. It's essentially a love letter to Paris and a lighthearted ode to a romantic era gone by. It follows Owen Wilson as Gill, an aspiring writer from California visiting France with his fiancée and her parents. He's in love with the city and takes solitary strolls at night to get inspiration for the novel he's working on. On one of these walks he discovers something unique and magical when the clock strikes midnight.
Allen's goal of nostalgically romanticizing Paris works as intended. The cinematography by the always brilliant Darius Khondji brings the city to life by perfectly showcasing its every streetlamp, sidewalk, and glistening pavement stone. The period costumes and throwback set-pieces also help to form this delightful image. I must also mention the incredible soundtrack, filled with Cole Porter tunes and a wondrously beautiful Django Reinhardt inspired original score by Stephane Wrembel, who plays a mesmerizing guitar melody that just gets inside your head.
Being not so much of a fan of Woody Allen, I wasn't as enamored as most reviewers seem to be by the story or the characters in this. It feels to me like Owen Wilson was hired because he does a great Woody Allen impression, a surprising revelation which is commendable, but this type of neurotic character just isn't one that I'm fond of. Also I think he went overboard trying to shoehorn as many famous faces and names into the script as possible. Straining the overall charm of the film for me because I found the supporting cast for the most part to be hit and miss. I know they were probably written that way, but most of the characters are hammy and one dimensional, which made me see them as the famous actors they are, and not the characters they were supposed to be playing.
As far as being a loving tribute to Paris, it is an overwhelming success that captures all the magic and beauty of my favorite film setting. As a romantic comedy it is effective, entertaining, and thankfully not too sappy. However, Midnight in Paris is still very much a typical Woody Allen film. One that I did enjoy, but it also didn't entirely win me over either.
— Bonjour Tristesse