Midnight in Paris is a warm and somewhat charming little film. It has Owen Wilson as a screenwriter who is attempting to write his first novel, one which he hopes contains even a seed of the greatness that the prominent novels of the 1920’s had. He spends his days on holiday in Paris slowly suffocating under his fiancé’s (Rachel McAdams) focus on everything but the city’s ‘true’ beauty, whilst also having to contend with her admiration for their ‘culturally educated’ friend (Michael Sheen). At night he wanders the city’s streets, seeking inspiration from them whilst also nostalgically thinking back to what he perceives as Paris’ golden age – the twenties. This Woody Allen film has a rather nice little message on nostalgia, and the effects that wishing to have lived in another time can have on a person. The fact that it then has great actors in supporting roles, who range from Marion Cotillard, to Tom Hiddleston, and to Adrien Brody, help makes this a rather endearing and recommendable film. It’s a shame that some of these really don’t have all that much screen-time, but still, those who have brief roles all do a lot with the time they are given.
The better you know the 1920’s and those who were prominent during that time, the more you will get out of this film. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t enjoy it otherwise, but the number of references within it do add a lot to the overall experience. Owen Wilson helps to contribute to the lightness of the movie, using his naive and mild-mannered style to great effect here, and he carries the film well. It’s easy to understand his character’s honest passion for Paris when we have the combined efforts of his enthusiastic performance and Darius Khondji’s cinematography to help us. It’s smooth and seductive and is exactly how we expect the romantic city to be portrayed.
You may have noticed that I’m skimming over plot details pretty lightly, and that’s because I believe it is best enjoyed going into this fairly blind. If you are at least slightly in love with Paris, nostalgically fond of the 1920’s, or just want a piece of entertainment that will transport you away for a couple of hours – then Midnight in Paris will do the trick. It’s certainly not the chick flick that I half thought it may be when going into it, instead it’s a very entertaining and even joyful film which is certainly worth a watch.