Staff Reviews: Midnight in Paris by Martin Barker, Screen Lounge Assistant

I should start off this review by stating that I am a massive Woody Allen fan. However, anyone who follows his films will know that some of his more recent efforts have been, well, quite hit and miss. However, for my money Midnight in Paris is one of his best in a long time. Woody explores an issue that he has hinted at in many of his other films. To pick out a quote from Deconstructing Harry, “All people know the same truth; our lives consist of how we choose to distort them.” This is the scenario that the main character of this film finds himself in.

Gil (Owen Wilson) is a successful yet unfulfilled Hollywood script writer who yearns to become a successful novelist, and live out his dreams in Paris. Whilst on a tag along holiday with the parents in law, Gil mulls upon his love of the city and yearns for his ideal golden era of the 1920’s. Meanwhile his wife Inez (Rachel McAdams) scoffs at his fantasy. She’s more interested in getting married and settling down to an easy life, where Gil brings in a good amount of money, something her parents are in agreement with. Whilst there, Inez bumps into an old friend Paul (Michael Sheen) who displays too much cultural arrogance for Gil to handle. However, it’s when Paris hits midnight (strangely enough) that the film really gets going. On a walk one night, Gil just so happens by chance, to bump into the likes of Hemmingway, Picasso, Fitzgerald and Dali but to name a few, whilst also falling for the charms of the beautiful Adriana (Marian Cottillard). All of this leaves Gil will a lot of questions to ask.

Woody Allen has always shown a love for capturing cities, New York his most famous, London recently and now Paris, and how he captures it. You couldn’t be blamed for yearning to exit the cinema and jump on a plane to Paris when viewing the opening sequence, accompanied by an excellent soundtrack featuring much of Allen’s beloved jazz. But I would urge you to hold on for an hour and a half! What we get is one of Allen’s most fun films of recent times, with some great Woody Allen lines delivered brilliantly by Owen Wilson, in what I think has to be one of his best performances I’ve seen. At times you can’t help but imagine Allen reading the same lines. He is supported by an excellent all star cast, with many faces popping up you will recognise including the first lady of France Carla Bruni.

Midnight in Paris is a beautifully shot, brilliantly scripted and excellently acted film which will leave you with a smile on your face as you leave the cinema, whilst also waiting eagerly for Allen’s next work. The Woodster clearly still has a lot to offer judging by the film. It’s good to have you back Woody, time to book my tickets to Paris, Au revoir!

Martin Barker works in the café bar and when not struggling to balance your meals from the kitchen to the table or watching films, he enjoys live music and exploring new places.

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