Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Midnight in Paris" (2011) - Movie Review

My best friend wishes he lived during the beat culture and when peace, love and free sex were the mantra. He should watch “Midnight in Paris” and can empathize with the main character of the film. Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a successful screenwriter trying to redeem his soul selling to Hollywood by writing a novel. He is in Paris with his fiance Inez (Rachel McAdams). Gil absolutely adores Paris as it is close to his heart when great writers spent peaceful time in this creative catalyst of a town, Paris. Now here he is and he cannot stop praising the beauty of the streets and the cafe’s, the presence of these artists and literary geniuses in a different time. He is going to get more than he asked for.

Woody Allen churns out films every year and it seems that he has an eternal fountain of creative process working in his head. Including this film I have seen three of his works, all recent and the diversity and presentation is so far apart and yet so effective. In “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” he provided three women, one man and a kind of twisted romance in the most amicable fashion. Then he gets Larry David being pretty much his manifestation in “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” into a comedy and a statement of the culture and society. Here he comes with a pleasant journey into the heart of this beautiful city known to have nurtured the greatest of writers in the bosom’s of its cobble stoned streets and rainy bridges.

Gil cannot believe that he is in Paris and desperately seeks an empathizing soul to share his enthusiasm in landing out here. Inez is more to be interested in the showy and classily snobby pseudo literate geek Paul Bates (Michael Sheen) who reeks of shady condescension starting from the way he maintains his beard. Gil goes through this relationship in a denial being dominated and questioned by his future in-laws. In a much enjoyable wine drinking session he opts out of dance to walk through the streets drunk. He lands lost in a step way when the bell tolls to midnight. An antique car finds its way and there are cheery people get him inside the vehicle to continue on an adventure I was not ready and expect to happen.

What happens in that midnight of Paris and the upcoming nights will not be revealed out here in this review but all I can say is that it is a writer’s wet dream. Woody Allen obviously has a greater understanding of the feeling like any passionate artist would. While any of the creator’s work is semi-autobiographical leaving some form of themselves inside one or several characters and in this film Allen channels all his fantasy through Gil.

While I am not well informed or curious enough to explore those great writers of the times when they loitered the late nights of this city to expand and explain their creative significance to themselves, “Midnight in Paris” has Owen Wilson exuberant with the cheerfulness of a young kid fluttering around in the aim of immersing into this extraordinary adventure as a writer. And knowing the nature of these writers clearly would elevate the enjoyment level of this film to a different level, it never does hinder an ordinary film enthusiast to miss out on lot of things.

“Midnight in Paris” is the kind of film which puts the audience at ease and lets them relate with concept on the joy someone would have in a fantasy in a personal sense but casually. Owen Wilson gets joined in this festival with Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Alison Pill, Corey Stoll and Marion Cotillard. It becomes a homage, ode and a dream that of a writer in the perfect city for that to happen.

I have refrained myself considerably in this review to reveal next to nothing plot as I would like for the viewers to be surprised as I was and go with the flow as the film does. In the current movie going experience the idea of finding a film surprising has phenomenally reduced and for a film like this, it is more than required to conceal the plot revelation as there lies the complete joy of experiencing a film. It is not ground breaking but you will understand the importance of knowing it first hand when you see it.

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