Midnight in Paris (2011) movie review

While I am still in my free month of Amazon Prime, I am making the most of watching things that I can’t access on Netflix – last night’s viewing was Midnight in Paris (2011). Not knowing anything about this film before watching it, besides it being written and directed by Woody Allen and starring Owen Wilson, I went into this blind with no expectations and found myself being pleasantly entertained the whole way through.

The plot follows the shy Gil (Owen Wilson) on holiday with his fiance, Inez (Rachael McAdams), of whom he’s having uncertainty with. While Inez goes out with friends one night, Gil decides to take a late night stroll through the city to clear his head as he makes his way back to their hotel room; but upon the strike of midnight, an old fashioned car pulls up to Gil and invites him to join them to a party where he meets many of the greatest writers and painters of the past. Enjoying his night spent with Fitzgerald and Hemingway, he decides to continue travelling back in time every night to break free of all his fears of marrying Inez.

This film was truly a delight, and I won’t hesitate to buy it on DVD for myself. The cinematography is stunning from start to finish, the soundtrack is inviting and comforting, and the characters (with any possibly historical inaccuracies aside) are very well written and believable. With an all-star cast, you’d presume the film to be a wonderful success, and this film really lives up to that.

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While listening to the soundtrack in a YouTube playlist, I saw someone comment that the film is very “cozy”, and I couldn’t agree more. The atmosphere throughout is very warm, even when we’re with dislike-able characters, because the mood follows Gil’s personality, and with him being the kind of person who enjoys the comfort of solitude and occasionally walking in the rain, we feel this as an audience and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of a late night walk or getting to know someone who can admit their faults.

I think this film also shows us something that I believe is important to show within cinema, and that’s the reality of loneliness and other melancholic emotions. I spoke about this a lot in the review of Lost in Translation (2004), but I think it makes a nice change from all the unrealistic and unrelatable features that Hollywood throws at us year after year to actually show a character with real emotion that isn’t completely attached to whatever turning point is given to them for the plot. Gil is anxious and unhappy, while convincing himself that things will work out, with his fiance before and throughout the unusual events that he finds himself in. Convincing yourself that you’re not in a failing relationship when you are is something that is a lot more common than people would like to admit, but I think that Gil’s character is well written and portrayed in a way that people can appreciate.

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This charming feature is definitely worth checking out, alone or with like-minded company.

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