Quickie: Midnight in Paris

Midnight in ParisGil (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter with writer’s block. On a trip to Paris with his high maintenance fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) he talks a midnight stroll and finds himself mysteriously time travelling to 1920’s Paris where he meets various famous historical figures including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, amongst others.

Beautifully shot in the French capital, Midnight in Paris really is as quirky as it sounds. It’s essentially a time travel story but is a million miles away from the likes of Looper and 12 Monkeys. The premise itself is enough to keep your interest throughout as you wonder which different famous faces Gil will bump into next. However, it also crosses the line into self indulgent and pretentious at times, too. You have to have a fairly decent knowledge of the characters to fully appreciate all the references; for those that don’t it could be an incredibly alienating experience.

Wilson is the perfect light-hearted lead, whilst McAdams barley gets chance to make an impression. Michael Sheen is excellently despicable has Inez’s arrogant know-it all friend Paul, and the various others who pop in and out also add their own little something to the film. Marion Cotillard, for example, is marvellous as usual as a 1920s love interest for Gil.

However, whilst Sheen’s character makes a habit of talking down to those around him, Midnight in Paris too often does the same to its audience. If you can get past this, though, there’s a fantastical story here that makes you just a little jealous of Gil and his Parisian adventure.

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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49 thoughts on “Quickie: Midnight in Paris

  1. vinnieh says:

    Great review, I still need to watch this one so thanks for the reminder man.

  2. ckckred says:

    Nice review. One of the best films I saw in 2011.

  3. It should be nice to see Michael Sheen in a quality movie and not doing his creepy Michael Jackson impression aka Twilight: Breaking Dawn! LOL Oh and I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! http://mikesfilmtalk.com/2013/03/26/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award-and-the-liebster-award-thanks/

  4. CMrok93 says:

    This goes to show you what can happen when Woody has inspiration and isn’t just making a movie, just to make a movie. Good review man.

  5. ruth says:

    Great review Chris! I was so in love with this one I bought the Blu-ray, even though generally I’m not a Woody Allen fan. Beautifully shot indeed, it’s practically a tourism video of Paris, ahah. I’m not fond of Wilson in general either but he’s perfectly cast here and Michael Sheen is amusing as an egotistical smarty pants! I also love the characters when he’s transported back in time, I mean Loki as one of America’s famous authors, LOVE it!! Marion was sublime as well, sooo gorgeous!

    I really was jealous of Gil and his Parisian adventure! :D

    • Thanks Ruth :) I bet this looks amazing on Blu-ray! I’m not Wilson’s biggest fan either but I thought he was pretty much spot on in this. And I love Michael Sheen. I mean, his character his horrible but he does it so well. It was really fun seeing all of these characters but I’m not sure I knew enough about some of them to fully appreciate everything. That’s more my problem than the film’s though I guess.

  6. Mr Rumsey says:

    I really enjoyed this film when I saw it, much more than I thought I would. As a fan of that era I revelled in all the little details and characters who pop up from time to time!

  7. keith7198 says:

    I adore this movie and let me go ahead and say it – this is my favorite Woody Allen film. It’s like wine. It gets better with age. Each viewing gets better and better. During a recent trip to Paris we visited many of the sites from the film which made it even more lovely.

  8. frameraters says:

    I had this on my urgent watch list until my girlfriend said ‘Oh, you wanted to see Midnight in Paris, the one with the time travel?’

    Now it’s on my list, but now I know the hook it’s being usurped by films about which I know nothing. Nice review, I love the pigeons.

    • Thanks very much! I would still give it a watch, even if you do know the hook. That’s not really the crux of the film, it doesn’t play that part up. It’s more about what happens and who he meets when he has gone back in time.

  9. “However, it also crosses the line into self indulgent and pretentious at times, too. ”

    Self indulgent, maybe, but I never felt it was pretentious… I enjoyed it totally, was one of the best movies of 2011 I thought. Kept things light hearted and whimsical throughout! :D

    • Very light hearted and I loved that about it. It was such an easy, relaxing watch. Maybe I should revisit this as a lot of people are hammering me for saying it’s a bit pretentious. I just felt like I was missing out on some stuff, but that’s just as likely my problem as the film’s.

  10. filmhipster says:

    Yup, great film Chris. I love your Quickies! :)
    Owen Wilson blew me away but I can’t help to wonder how Allen would have been in this role.

  11. claratsi says:

    my experience’s of woody Allen are limited and he is a filmmaker I should really have spent more time watching. This one sounds interesting so it may offer me a way into the Woody world ooo-er!

  12. Garrett says:

    Good little review! I liked this film, but didn’t love it. Owen Wilson was fine, but it’s too bad Woody Allen couldn’t have starred in it.

  13. sati says:

    I love Michael Sheen so I really liked his work here too, he was so funny playing that character. The film was quite magical and I really liked the romantic ending and Wilson’s main character, he did a good job being awkward Allenesque hero without annoyingly copying Woody as many before him did.

    • Sheen was great, wasn’t he? I hated the character but loved him, he always delivers. I liked the ending too. Sure, it was a bit predictable and smushy but I think it worked for the story. And Wilson was a really good choice for this, I think the casting was pretty perfect.

  14. Nick Powell says:

    I definitely understand the whole idea that the film kind of talks down to the audience, but I also think in that same regard, it rewards intelligent viewers as well. I love the crap out of this movie and it was my #1 in 2011. Good review.

    • Thanks Nick. Yeah the film definitely does reward intelligent viewers, that’s a good point. I guess the point I was trying to make in my review was that it might exclude some from fully enjoying it, but I suppose that’s no fault of the film or the filmmakers – they can make whatever film they like!

  15. Nice review, although I didn’t think the film talked down to the audience. I fell in love with MIP. It was my favorite from 2011 and at the top of Allen’s filmography for me.

    • Cheers mate. Perhaps I was a little unfair with it talking down to its audience, I guess it depends on the audience! I do feel that a lot of people might not get as much out of this as others if they don’t know much about the literary figures. I understood some of it but felt I didn’t get as much as I could have done.

      • You’re right about that. Can’t say I’m an expert on art and literature from that period but I at least knew who most of these people were, so I was able to really enjoy their “cameos”, especially Dali’s.

  16. Tyson Carter says:

    I will watch Wilson in pretty much anything, and he was excellent here :)

  17. Sounds interesting – i love those writers and the plot…not a huge fan of Wilson but I’ll give it a go :) great write-up!

  18. I posted this on Reddit for you http://redd.it/1b47py getting a lot of comments there

  19. Would love to see this one soon – I’ve heard so many good things about it. Great review.

  20. Beer Movie says:

    I am a big fan of this film. I think the script is one of the better ones of recent years. I do agree with you though, that it is not entirely accessible for those who do not know much about the people that the film features.

    • It really is a great script, there’s some brilliant lines and conversations in there. Yeah I just feel it may go over some people’s heads but that’s not necessarily a criticism I suppose, just an observation more than anything.

  21. Glad you liked this one. It was such a creative and beautiful film. The whole cast was on fire! Kathy Bates needs a good leading role – I miss her.

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