Ed reviews 'Midnight in Paris' 

click to enlarge Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams star in Woody Allen's latest romantic comedy. Submitted photo.
  • Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams star in Woody Allen's latest romantic comedy. Submitted photo.

3.5 stars


In the mood for a light, charming movie? Midnight in Paris is an undemanding fantasy where the lead character has a magical romantic adventure and learns a lesson about life along the way.

Woody Allen wrote and directed the film. Some have hailed it as his best movie in a decade, but that puts way too much of a burden on its unpretentious little shoulders (and it's not true, either. Rent Vicky Cristina Barcelona and see for yourself). Anyhoo, don't enter the theater with unrealistic expectations. Just prepare yourself for a pleasant trifle, an extra-fluffy meringue, an airy drink of ... something airy. Are you getting my message, ladies and gentlemen? The movie is effervescent, featherweight, frothy - hey, I've got a thesaurus open here, I can go on like this for paragraphs.

Owen Wilson, employing Woody Allen-style stammering without getting annoying about it, plays Gil, a successful Hollywood screenwriter working on a novel because he wants to be feel legitimate. Gil's an easygoing, likable fellow, so why is he on a pre-wedding vacation in Paris with Inez (Rachel McAdams), who is self-absorbed, materialistic and kinda abrasive?

Don't blame Inez. She's not bad, Woody Allen just wrote her that way, so we'd root for Gil to get away from her. Gil, whose love for Paris and its storied past appears stronger than his feelings for Inez, takes to walking the streets at night to drink in the romanticism of the City of Light.

Romantic notions turn true when the clock hits midnight and a vintage car pulls up. The party-goers in the roadster invite Gil in and he finds himself transported back to the Paris of the Golden Days, riding with none other than F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill). Congratulations to Woody the writer and Owen the actor for finding just the right level of awestruck-ness for Gil - enough for a reason-based man magically transported through time, but not so much as to prevent him from adapting to the situation. He can't believe he's hobnobbing with legends. To them, however, he's a peer - a writer with a promising book and an appealing manner.

The best parts of the film are Gil's nightly visits to the past, where he pals around with pointedly-direct man's man Ernest Hemingway (played amusingly, but somehow not cartoonishly, by Corey Stoll), gets advice from the remarkable and remarkably down-to-earth Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates, in fine form), and marvels at Salvador Dali. I won't list all the luminaries he encounters. Suffice to say that in addition to socializing with the greats, Gil gets a crush on the lovely Adriana (Marion Cotillard), who is dating Hemingway and Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo).

During the daytime hours, Inez complains about Gil's increasing distance, while her parents (Mimi Kennedy and Kurt Fuller) up their "tut-tutting" about their son-in-law to be. Dad even hires a detective to follow Gil at night, a subplot with a payoff that isn't funny enough to warrant the build-up. Michael Sheen is entertainingly irritating as a know-it-all who hovers around Inez.

In the end, the fairy-tale has a suitably happy ending and Gil learns a lesson. So there you go. The Purple Rose of Cairo it ain't, but Midnight in Paris is a pleasure, really. Just don't expect too much. Did I mention the movie is slight, trifling, airy ... oh hell, I said airy 479 words ago.


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Midnight in Paris


Around the Web

What others are saying (12)

Colorado Springs Independent Time warp: Midnight in Paris In life, there are a few things on which you can always depend, one of them being a new Woody Allen film annually by Anders Wright 06/09/2011
Charleston City Paper Midnight in Paris is an examination of nostalgia Woody Allen's latest, Midnight in Paris, is an amusing fantasy with a slight but charming hook. by Felicia Feaster 06/08/2011
Portland Mercury Good Woody Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is a shockingly good return to form. by Ned Lannamann 06/02/2011
9 more reviews...
East Bay Express Midnight in Paris Woody Allen drives on deeper into Europe. by Kelly Vance 05/25/2011
Creative Loafing Atlanta Midnight in Paris harks back to 1920s Paris — and vintage Woody Allen Time-travel comedy finds humor in the Lost Generation by Curt Holman 06/09/2011
The Coast Halifax Midnight In Paris nostalgic joy Woody Allen's most recent film a whimsical treat by Carsten Knox 06/09/2011
Memphis Flyer Travelin’ Man Woody Allen continues his European renaissance of sorts with Midnight in Paris. by Chris Herrington 06/09/2011
Portland Mercury My 14 Favorite Movies of 2011 Why my favorites? Because I work at a newspaper and you don't! by Erik Henriksen 12/29/2011
Indy Week Woody Allen's slight but charming French movie, Midnight in Paris Despite its feathery texture and thin characterizations, Woody Allen's new comedy touches on difficult paradoxes of being in love with history and our tendency to project fantasies onto the present. by Nathan Gelgud 06/08/2011
Tucson Weekly The City of Light Woody Allen revives Owen Wilson's sagging career with 'Midnight in Paris' by Colin Boyd 06/09/2011
Style Weekly The Great Gilsby Owen Wilson gets around in "Midnight in Paris." by Wayne Melton 06/07/2011

This Week's Flyers

About The Author

Ed Johnson-Ott

Today's Best Bets | All of today's events

Around the Web

All contents copyright © 2017 NUVO Inc.
3951 N. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Website powered by Foundation