Woody Allen is a favorite director of mine, and has been discussed in a previous edition of [Celluloid Hero]. That movie was disappointing, but with "Midnight In Paris", Allen has totally redeemed himself.

As mentioned, Allen has developed a clear formula for most of his films. Gil, played by Owen Wilson is essentially Allen; there's another alpha male, Paul (Michael Sheen) to compete for the affections of the object of Allen's desire, in this case Inez (Rachel McAdams). Gil hates Paul for his pedantic nature, while Inez is enchanted.

This movie is set apart from the rest of Allen's thanks to a supernatural twist that is pretty much new for Allen: time travel. He covered the ground in a sci-fi style in 1973's "Sleeper", and there were conspiracy theories about 2003's "Anything Else", but this time Allen inserts the time travel mythos into a straight romantic comedy without worrying too much about the science of it.

Gil is in love with the idea of Paris in the 1920s, the bohemian culture of artists and writers. He yearns to live in a time before his, his own personal Golden Age. Inez doesn't understand any of his passion, nor does her parents or anyone else in their life. While on vacation, each night at midnight Gil is inexplicably transported back to the 1920s, where he meets F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali and many others.

I really enjoyed this movie, and actually identified with Gil many times. I do have a romantic notion about the past, I do have an affinity for the French. I also understand that one can't always look for "the good old days", and must embrace the present.




On the Celluloid Hero scale, "Midnight In Paris" gets a 9 out of 10.


[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he'll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below. CLICK HERE for the Celluloid Hero archives]

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