It’s not an exaggeration to state that Midnight in Paris is one of my all-time favourite films. I bloody LOVE it. I knew as soon as I left the Tineside Cinema in Newcastle that it had struck a chord. It left me stunned when I recently made my boyfriend watch it for the first time. When it was over, he looked at me and said “I don’t get it.” *wimpers*
The DVD will no doubt see some more action before my trip to Paris this December because it perfectly encapsulates why everyone is so barmy about Paris. It is THE film to get you excited about a trip there.
Gill, a middle-class (c’mon, this is Allen we’re talking about…) American screenwriter, perfectly encapsulated by Owen Wilson, tags along on a trip to Paris with his fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her right-wing snobby mother and father. Whilst trying to find his hotel alone one evening, Gill sits his tired, tipsy self down on a Parisian stoop. The clock strikes midnight and an old-style car drives up filled with lively Parisians who gleefully usher Gill into their car and take them to a party.
When he gets there, he finds Cole Porter alive and well at the piano, people dancing the Charleston and F. Scott Fitzgerald and his zany wife Zelda to converse with. Is he that drunk? Is he going mad? Both?! It turns out, every night at midnight, Gill has the opportunity to meet ‘creatives’ in the 1920s such as Ernest Hemingway, Picasso and Dali. What’s more, they are probably the best people in the history of literature to help him work through the problems he’s having writing his first novel.
Gill is clearly a dreamer and a romantic. He values talent and forward thinkers over hyped-up academics and Scholars and would love to live in Paris in the 1920s. He also loves Paris in the rain. In fact, he’s obsessed with it.
Don’t think the intellectual storyline leaves little room for Allen’s whimsical comedy. Trying to explain his nighttime activities to Inez is a car crash waiting to happen, and spouting off his new-found knowledge of art to his peers as they stare at him aghast is hilarious. It doesn’t hurt that so much of Paris is also featured; the Moulin Rouge, the Seine, the Eiffel Tower… Can’t afford a trip to Paris? This might be the next best thing.
I can imagine that some viewers who have seen one or two of these so-called ‘tourist films’ might find Allen’s saturated glisteningly perfect look at Paris a bit too sentimental and non-representative of the real Paris. To which I say yes, Paris is full of randomly piled rubbish heaps and it FULL of tourists, but this isn’t a documentary, kids.
In fact, the whole film is about believing that you’d be better off in a different place, a different time from a romantic view you have of the city… Keep that in mind when you watch this film and note the ending. Do you get it now, oh wonderful boyfriend of mine?! 😉
Have you ever seen Midnight in Paris? Do you love it as much as I do?