Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Midnight in Paris Review

These days, so many romantic comedies are predictable, dull, and completely by the numbers.  That's why it's so refreshing to see a movie like Midnight in Paris, which is very unusual and different.  Yes, we have seen time travel movies in the past, but the backdrop of Paris adds so much more to it.  Owen Wilson is also a likable, quirky and fun main character with his love of everything in the past.  When you add Woody Allen to the mix, it's a recipe for success.

Owen Wilson stars as Gil Pender, a Hollywood screenwriter that is writing a novel about a nostalgia store.  His fiancée, Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, doesn't understand why he doesn't just stick to writing movies in Hollywood.  He makes good money doing it, but it's not where his passion lies.  His passion lies in the past where he believes everything was romantic, magical and much easier.  His present is not exactly an enjoyable lifestyle.  His  fiancée and her parents are very demanding of Gil and don't understand why he often appears to be drifting away in his head.  As Inez's dad says, "There's something missing in him."

Everything changes for Gil when he takes a midnight walk around Paris and discovers a mysterious past with great writers and great artists. Gil starts to wonder if there is something wrong with him.  Yes, he was drinking, but it's not like he was completely wasted.  He tells his fiancée that he's out walking for inspiration, but her father is not as trusting as Inez. He hires a private detective to follow his every move.  Every night, without fail, something weird happens at midnight to Gil.  Meanwhile, his relationship with his fiancée is crumbling by the day.

Midnight in Paris must be viewed on the big screen, as the scenery is eye-popping, absorbing and stunningly beautiful. You can't help but be taken in by everything that surrounds you.  The film really shows how romantic everything in Paris is.  Even as a viewer, you can feel it.  It's breathtaking  It really is a main character in the film.

Owen Wilson gives his best performance in a long time as Gil Pender.  He's wacky, outrageous, very neurotic and never, ever boring.  Owen has a ton of fun here with this character.  He has a lot to work with, and we never know if he's crazy, open-minded, or a hopeless romantic.  Maybe he's a little bit of everything. Rachel McAdams, however, is given a nothing role as the unsupportive and bitchy fiancée.  It's a shame to see her wasted in this secondary role.  Make no mistake about it, this is Owen Wilson's movie.

The first half hour of the movie is a little meandering, slow and dull, but when it picks up and starts to make sense, it's a great journey.  The comedy is effortless, real, and very bizarre.  The romance and the heart are also very big throughout this movie.  You will walk out of this movie feeling like a hopeless romantic.  The film also makes you want to visit Paris as soon as possible.  This is the best Woody Allen movie since Match Point.

In one era, you might be viewed as a buffoon, an idiot, and a weirdo.  If you were born in another era, you might be viewed as an inspiration.  It's all about timing and what era suits you.  Midnight in Paris shows us that it's OK to long for the past, hope for a better life, and enjoy the little moments.  However, you have to use the past to shape your future.

Grade: B+

How should you see it? See it on the big screen to enjoy the beauty of Paris.

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