Midnight In Paris

Film

Romance

Minuit à Paris

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Oct 4 2011

Tides rise and fall, planets spin on their axes and each new year brings a fresh film by Woody Allen. Maybe fresh isn’t the right word. Artistic crises, monied folk, metropolitan settings, romantic hiccups, women holding back men, or vice versa – we know what to expect from Allen, who turned 75 last year. The biggest surprise these days is where the director of ‘Annie Hall’ and ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ will take his travelling company next.

For ‘Midnight in Paris’, he opts for the French capital for the second time following ‘Everyone Says I Love You’, and sets it mostly in the present but with some mischievous hops to the city in the 1920s and the 1890s. It’s a simple, amusing moral yarn with the odd hint of Allen’s comic anarchism of old. It’s familiar, but breezily so, and the cast appear much more at ease than the recent ‘You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger’. Owen Wilson especially makes a charming, laidback Allen alter ego.

‘Midnight in Paris’ is a love letter to a city and, like ‘Manhattan’, opens with an adoring montage, set to jazz, of the city by day and night. As in so many of Allen’s films, our troubled hero is a writer: Gil (Wilson, who adopts the classic slacks-and-check-shirt Woody look) is on holiday in Paris with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and her rich, conservative parents. While Inez prefers the company of her folks or her friends, Paul (Michael Sheen), a preening academic, and his wife, Carol (Nina Arianda), Gil is struggling to complete a book he hopes will mark his crossover from Hollywood hack to novelist and wanders the street by night looking for inspiration.

It’s on those journeys  that he finds himself, by way of hitching a lift in a classic Peugeot, in a Paris of another age, mixing in the 1920s with the likes of Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody) and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll). It sounds crazy, but the boldness of Gil’s late-night trips to the past give the film a lift out of the more tired arena of Gil’s romantic and creative crises in the present. Allen and his cast get the tone right, the actors playing the historical characters with a spirited comic energy and Wilson well suited to the role of the doe-eyed, bemused writer wallowing in his cultural heaven. Marion Cotillard and Léa Seydoux offer pretty but passive support as Gil’s alternative romantic options in the past and present, while Carla Bruni has a shaky cameo as a tour guide.

There are ideas afoot about idolising past cultural figures and falsely imagining golden ages, but Gil’s line ‘I’m having an insight now, it’s a minor one’ best sums up the film’s simple but honest vision. Allen aims for mild surprise and amusement rather than anything more heady. It’s all very recognisable but not tired, and the film’s lightly-played time-travelling element gives ‘Midnight in Paris’ a hint of boldness lacking in too many of Allen’s recent films. It’s fun and it’s most welcome.
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Release details

UK release:

Fri Oct 7, 2011

Duration:

94 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|22
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jim

really loved this film as it panders to my fantasy of stepping back in time and meeting the famous and owen wilson perfect in his role but you can see woody allen in his performance.

stevhors

If you want a perfectly OK light and sweet escapist film then this is for you, but don't expect a full three course meal, it's not meant to be that. Mediocre acting and weakish screenplay are offset by beautiful evocations of Paris as a romantic city making a quite passable movie experience and much better than the dreadful Vicky Christina Barcelona; choice of music is fine and well integrated as well.

pumpyinabox

After hearing so many good things about this film, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears - it's one of the worst films I've ever seen. I'm glad to see that others share my view. Woody Allen strikes out a lot, and this was definitely a strike out. One of his worst.

wildkatwriter

I have a theory about this film. Woody Allen wrote the script when he was about 15 and had just discovered these literary, artistic and cinematic greats. And instead of re-reading it when he was 18, realising that it stank to high heaven and burning it, he's made it into a move and inflicted it on all of us. Either that, or aliens have stolen his brain and he's forgotten how to write movies. Because, let's face it, this is HORRIBLE. Shallow, self-indulgent, sycophantic, misogynist, pretentious crap. By the time Owen Wilson's struggling writer has wittered about Paris and how lovely it is for five minutes, I wanted to punch him in the face, but I realised he's meant to be the hero and we're actually meant to CARE about whether he succeeds in his quest to stop being a Hollywood hack (biting the hand that feeds you there, Woody) and become a proper writer, and find a woman who admires him and presumably doesn't answer back. It has nothing to say about the luminaries it wheels on - they all just do a turn. Heminway's intense, Zeda F is a flake, Scott Fitzgerald is a nonentity (noooo!), Gertrude Stein is forthright, Picasso does weird paintings and so on. It's one of two fanboy movies this year (the other was the much more bearable MY WEEK WITH MARILYN). This has lots of text and no subtext, no subtlety and - tragic for the master of comedies of manners - no humour that's not heavy-handed. It's a film about Paris like NOTTING HILL is a film about London - there is the tourist Paris where all streets are cobbled, all roads lead to the Seine or have a view of the Eiffel Tower, and there is nobody who isn't white. And okay, we writers all fantasise about our literary hero/ine sitting us down and saying, "This novel of yours, it's really promising You've really got something there..." but we don't actually put that scene in a sodding FILM!! and expect people to pay money to watch it. Owen Wilson's a good comic actor, but here he's playing Woody's avatar and does Woody's voice spot-on - just enough to be really, really annoying. Do yourself a favour: read TENDER IS THE NIGHT or THE FIRST FORTY-NINE and give this film a very wide berth. Adolescent rubbish written by a 75-year old who should be old enough to know better

Eeyore

So desperately bad I considered walking out - and then at the end wished that I had. It's sad to see Allen degenerating into such over-sentimentalised tosh. Hackneyed locations, cardboard cutout characters, and unsympathetic ultra-rich and ultra-stupid principles do not make a good film.

Ronan

One of the worst movies I've ever seen. A bad idea badly executed. Whoever cast Owen Wilson as the lead must be insane. Maybe it was Woody himself. Anyway if you're thinking of going to see it don't. Save yourself a long 1hr 34 mins.

Jools

This film served as a great vehicle for some audience members to laugh extra loud to show they got the artistic and literary references. Apart from that, pleasant enough, a bit like an upgraded version of 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. I kept expecting Nicholas Lyndhurst to pop up in a bar.

Heather

I adored this film. If you don't like Woody Allen don't go and see his films. Duh. I got completely lost in the Parisian time warped world. The music helped, beautiful. Woody Allen isn't known for his seriousness and the cameos proved that. Adrien Brody was hilarious. Oh Paris...

Heather

I adored this film. If you don't like Woody Allen don't go and see his films. Duh. I got completely lost in the Parisian time warped world. The music helped, beautiful. Woody Allen isn't known for his seriousness and the cameos proved that. Adrien Brody was hilarious. Oh Paris...

Amanda

Worst movie of the year. I wanted to walk out but I was with a friend so I felt bad leaving her but she thought it was a load of rubbish too! No romance, no laughable moments.. Pretentious and had no plot!

very happy filmgoer

Gorgeous movie - I agree with the first three postings. I find it incredible that anyone could dislike this film - I really think to complain that some of the characters were pretentious is bizarre - they were supposed to be! Owen Wilson was lovely in this, too - again, a bizarre criticism that a 'modern sexy american girl' (do you really mean the unsympathetic rachel mcadams character?) wouldn't find him attractive - of course she would! Do you really think that women are only interested in men who fit some limited cultural stereotype of manliness? Are you five??? Oh dear - didn't mean for this to be a rant at some of the other reviews, but I was completely astonished by them. This was definitely my favourite film of this year - even better than X-Men First Class!!!

very happy filmgoer

Gorgeous movie - I agree with the first three postings. I find it incredible that anyone could dislike this film - I really think to complain that some of the characters were pretentious is bizarre - they were supposed to be! Owen Wilson was lovely in this, too - again, a bizarre criticism that a 'modern sexy american girl' (do you really mean the unsympathetic rachel mcadams character?) wouldn't find him attractive - of course she would! Do you really think that women are only interested in men who fit some limited cultural stereotype of manliness? Are you five??? Oh dear - didn't mean for this to be a rant at some of the other reviews, but I was completely astonished by them. This was definitely my favourite film of this year - even better than X-Men First Class!!!

Cindero

One of the most irritating and disappointing films this year. What starts as an amiable enough homage to Paris soon degenerates into a crass, infantile time travel caper, with the main character Gil transported back to the roaring '20s in the back of an old Peugeot. There he encounters the full list of literary and artistic luminaries of the day: Fitzgerald, Dali, Hemingway etc. Wuite how they all came to be in exactly the same place at the same time, and how they readily accept him into their circle (despite his modern clothes and mannerisms) are breesily sidestepped. The clumsy 1890's scene looked like it had been tacked on after the director realised he couldn't fit Toulouse Lautrec into the 1920's (as he was inconveniently dead by then) Meanwhile back in modern day Paris, Gil's intensly irritating future in-laws and airhead fiancee are swanning around the city flashing their cash (buying quaint $18,000 wooden chairs) and talking loudly to ingratiating locals in English ("have the house detective come to my room immediately"). The bearded academic friend of the fiancee is just too pretentious for words, and what on Earth Carla Bruni was doing masquerading as a tour guide at Musee Rodin is beyond me. Woody Allen is capable of much better than this inane tripe, which is obviously intended for affluent, gushing American tourists visitng Paris. As for time-travel capers - Bill and Ted did it so much better!

FilmFan

One of Woody Allen's best films ever as far as I am concerned: a great treat indeed for his many loyal fans on the European continent. I am already much looking forward to seeing his next film The Bop Decameron set in Rome!

dr. k

I don't know what film you all saw. This is another average Allen film. Adrien Brody steals the movie with his one scene. Rachel Mcadams really should stop trying to act, she is just not comfortable to watch and should invest in some Alexander technique. The film was trite and two dimensional. not good

Fanie

The film was absolutely perfect! The music is fantastic, the story is magical, and the characters are lovable and honest. This far exceeded my expectations. I am in love....

Fanie

The film was absolutely perfect! The music is fantastic, the story is magical, and the characters are lovable and honest. This far exceeded my expectations. I am in love....

Adamski007

I would go as far as to say this is the most enjoyable Woody Allen film since Mighty Aphrodite (which is right up there with his best work). It's a warm, gently funny film with a cast who has got to grips with the tone of the script - other actors, great ones, seemed to really struggle with You will meet a tall dark stranger and Match Point (which I liked too, but were very wooden in parts). Best bit in the film: Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali. As fantasy comedies go, it's one of the better ones we've seen of late. And the same goes for Woody Allen