Sony Pictures Classics
Midnight in Paris
A film by Woody Allen
The opening montage of picture-postcard images of Paris segues into the now familiar EF Windsor Light Condensed Font credits letting us know that this is yet another Woody Allen film. The Weaver and I saw it in a traditional single-screen theater (The Uptown) in Minneapolis. It was nearly full, mostly older couples (on Sunday afternoon "dates"), people who have been going to Allen's movies for well over forty years.
Owen Wilson is the lead, playing the Woody Allen role, and does a good job in making Allen's usually nervous witticisms seem less neurotic than usual. Wilson portrays Gil Pender, a successful "hack" screenwriter who is in Paris with his fiance and her parents, the father is on a business trip. Gil is working on a novel while his fiance (and her mother) shop for furnishings for their future Malibu home. Every night, at midnight, a vintage cab appears, taking Gil back to the 1920's where he encounters Jazz age celebrities: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dalí and numerous others. These period sets are exquisite, I found myself yearning to enter that world as much as Gil did.
Allen's muse in this film is not a woman but rather the art of writing. Gil does not have writer's block, but does need to "man up" a bit (Hemingway gives him a choice- write more assertively or fight!) There is a romantic sub-plot with a very appealing Marion Cotillard, but this is a film more of ideas than passion.
Woody has been supplying me with "date-movies" all of my adult life. This may not be his best movie, but it is certainly one of the most satisfying. It is a pleasant fantasy; an enjoyable summer movie; a great entertainment.