This review is from: Midnight in Paris [Blu-ray]  [US Import] (Blu-ray)
If you know Woody Allen's stand-up work from the 60s you'll know the European vacation sketch with Hemmingway and Gertrude Stein. This takes that singular idea and weaves it into a feature film - with all the strengths and weaknesses that implies.
On the one hand it's funny and engaging, a treat of a film. It's well cast with Owen Wilson doing a good `Woody' turn; Marion Cotllard perfect as the coquettish muse and Corey Stoll stealing the show as a laugh-out-loud Hemmingway. Michael Sheen is also hysterical. The humour is a mix of contemporary digs, the rightwing of the Republican Party is the butt of several funny lines, and knowing but funny references to Paris of the 20s (though I admit I had to look up who Djuna Barnes was). The film's message - that the past is a nostalgic illusion and we must live for today - is hardly subtle or original but definitely something we could all do with being reminded about from time to time.
On the other hand, there are plenty of flaws. The opening montage goes on far too long. I got it: we're in Paris! The relationship between Gil and Inez is too antagonistic to be credible. And since this is a concept movie, there's no real resolution to it; it can't go anywhere, so Woody just ends it with a downpour.
But these are criticisms that are easy to overlook. It's at its best when Owen Wilson is wandering through Paris of almost a century ago and for this part of the movie alone I'd recommend it. Utterly charming.
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Initial post: 1 Nov 2012 14:48:50 GMT
B. Fox says:
I agree with almost all of your review but I didn't feel the ending was a let down or a cop out. My feeling was that he realised that he was looking into the past because he was so unhappy with his present, i.e. Inez, but as soon as he found a like minded love interest, Paris in the rain with a beautiful French girl who loved it too, brought him back to himself. Or am I being too hopeful! I don't think so.
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