Gil (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.