Midnight in Paris (2011)

Woody Allen is such an innovative thinker.  He really has done so much for the film industry and paved paths like none before him.  He has made 37 movies in his career and he personally writes and directs each and every on.  My first Woody Allen movie, like most, was Annie Hall.  I can still remember the first time I watched it.  I was sitting in my living room and it was a cold January evening and after watching it my world opened to what films can be.  They can be funny without losing its artistic integrity.  He made each character progress in life without losing their fundamental aspects which is very difficult when trying to show a character’s development across a span of time.  A lot of people will tell you that Woody Allen has lost his touch and that he can no longer make great movies, but I disagree.  Woody has continually written roles where characters find conflict and change but somehow always are able to stay the same.  And that is what he has done with Midnight in Paris

The story takes place in Paris, 2010.  Owen Wilson portrays a former script writer who is following his dream of being a novelist.  This movie follows Owen Wilson, Gil, and his girlfriend, Inez, portrayed by Rachel McAdams, who is not supportive of Gil’s newfound dreams.  While wandering the streets alone Gil finds an old car pull up and offer him to get in.  As the clock strikes midnight, Gil says why not.  That decision changed his life as he stepped into the past, specifically a general 1920.  He meets F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso.  This leads him down a path where every night at midnight he steps back in time to live in the time that he should have been born.

Seeing culture icons such as Porter Cole, Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Picasso and the FItzgeralds in an everyday setting is such a refreshing break from a biopic where they might show up in.  This showed them outside of their work and how their everyday lives affected them and how they lead their lives before they became the legends they are now.

Owen Wilson really showed off his chops here and solidified the fact that he is really one of the most natural actors working today.  He has a presence around him that never makes it feel like he is reading a script.  Everything he says feels natural with his stammering and dictation of emotion.  In a year where the oscars were struggling to find a suitor for Best Actor, Owen Wilson should have been the man.  This movie was nominated for Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Best Director.

This movie is such an amazing and innocent take on time travel that it doesn’t even seem like a science fiction or time travel movie.  It feels like a journey of a man following his dreams and meeting his heroes along the way.  This lead me to ponder what time period I would travel back to.  I always felt like I belonged in the 1980’s with my taste of music and attitude, but Gil is really able to meet his heroes and find his way and truly pull the trigger on his impending moments in life.  Therefore rocking out with Van Halen and Motley Crue in 1984 wouldn’t really give me the experience that Gil got.  I guess Sundance in the 90’s is where I belong most.  Whether I deserve it would be the journey just as Gil found out that he deserved to be a novelist and pursue his dreams; being in Sundance with Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater is where I belong.

This movie is really a spectacle unlike no other and really should be watched by anyone who has dreams to follow or is stuck in a moment where they are not happy and need a change.

Midnight in Paris: 9.4/10


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