MOVIE REVIEW: Midnight In Paris


Night At The Museum brought history to life in a way the masses could embrace as they never had through school or during family trips to the Smithsonian. However, real fans of all things historical were left excited, but also unimpressed by Hollywood’s mockery of how we as people came to be. It is fun to entertain and films with budgets like Night At The Museum have to entertain many, many people in every scene, but what about the possibilities of actually using a connection to history for the betterment of one’s self and the shaping of your universal views? Woody Allen has the answer.

Midnight In Paris is a rare gem of a film. Blending romance, drama, and time travel in a way that’s both engaging and completely believable, this is Night At The Museum for people who actually enjoy museums, or to be more specific, libraries.

Playing the neurotic protagonist almost as well as Allen himself, Midnight In Paris follows Owen Wilson as a writer turned struggling novelist name Gil in Summer 2010. Gil is on vacation with his endlessly annoying fiancee (Rachel McAdams) and her family in Paris, but is the only one of the group actually excited about the location. You see, Gil is not only a struggling novelist, but a romantic as well, and Paris has long been a beacon of sorts for those types. He wants to see the city, walk in the rain, and visit the places his icons had dwelled in while working on their masterpieces, but his fiancee would rather spend time indoors, being chauffeured, or hanging with Paul, a friend from college that the couple run into while in the city. Gil finds this all very boring and one night decides to leave his fiancee, Paul, and Paul’s girlfriend on the way to a club and walk back to the hotel alone.

As if often the case when wondering a foreign city at night, Gil eventually becomes lost amongst the cobblestone streets and finds comfort on an old stoop. Just then, a car that seems built at the turn of the 20th century pulls up looking brand new and filled with people. The door opens and a group of young, well dressed, drunk people invite Gil to join them. Being the wonderer he is, Gil joins them and is soon whisked away through the city.

The car stops outside a party and Gil enters to find himself feeling underdressed, even though he is in a suit. Everyone is in tuxes, except the girls, who are almost entirely in flapper dresses. Cole Porter is playing in the room and as Gil wonders he notices, Cole Porter is literally playing in the room. Believing he is simply witnessing a look-alike, Gil explores the party more until he is greeted by Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. THE Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. The couple make small talk with Gil before whisking him away to another bar where he meets a drunk and disgruntled Ernest Hemingway, as well as additional historical icons.

From here, the film splits into two stories: How Gil spends his days and what he experiences while wondering Paris at night. The former makes for a great look at how Americans view other countries, as well as the dying appreciation for life’s simplicities due to people’s preference preference for technology and comfort, while the latter weaves a tale of self-discovery and romance that literally defies time and logic. The true magic however, comes from the enthralling way these tales collide to create such a flowing work of art. Regardless whether Gil is arguing with his fiancee or talking relationships with Salvador Dali, you as the viewer will be unable to turn away from the screen and even better, you will buy it all hook, line, and sinker.

If you are like me, you are probably scratching your head and wondering what on Earth is going on, which is good. Allen has crafted a film the relies heavily on subtlety and requires your full attention throughout. Those looking to be spoonfed their wit and romance would be much better looking elsewhere because this film take no time explaining or introducing, it simply moves along and hopes you can keep up which is exactly what any diehard movie fan such as myself longs for.

Midnight In Paris is a movie for people that not only love books, but also those who appreciate the art of filmmaking and literature as a whole. It is one of Allen’s best works, especially in recent years, and has a cast you will not be able to resist swooning over. Forget the robots, superheroes, penguins, and zookeepers for a day and see a movie that actually deserves mass recognition and praise. You won’t regret it.

Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

Latest posts by James Shotwell (see all)

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  • andi

    its not Scarlett Johansen its Rachel McAdams. 

  • Fixed.