Although the calendar reads September, there has been a massive heat wave in Los Angeles over the past few days. Like lie inside with the air conditioning on full blast with a bag of frozen peas on your face hot. I escaped to the movie theater last night and finally got around to seeing Midnight in Paris. If I wasn't dreaming of being somewhere else before I saw the film, I definitely was after.
Owen Wilson plays Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who feels like a sellout because he gave up on his true dream of being a novelist. He's engaged to bitchy, stereotypical Los Angeles-type-of-girl Inez (Rachel McAdams). They go on vacation to Paris with her parents. Gil is in love with the city (which he calls a "work of art" and I have to agree), especially when it rains (Woody Allen get out of my head). Inez is annoyed with everything he does and prefers spending her time with douche-y know-it-all Paul (Michael Sheen), her professor from college whom they run into one evening at dinner. Paul is lecturing at the Sorbonne and does things like argue with tour guides and proclaim himself a wine expert. One evening poor drunken Gil wants to walk around the city with Inez and she ditches him to go dancing with Paul. At the stroke of midnight, Gil is picked up by a cab that can travel back in time to 1920's Paris.
While there, Gil meets Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Dali, and a host of other artistic legends. Each character is played to the full effect of their artistic myth - Hemingway is a huge drinker that speaks just as he writes. Zelda Fitzgerald guzzles champagne and speaks French with a Southern accent. Dali is over the top and fixated on creating art. Gil romanticizes everything surrounding him and returns each night, attending surrealist parties, receiving notes on his novel from Gertrude Stein and falling in love with Adrianna (Marion Cotillard), one of Picasso's muses. He also finds himself slowly but surely falling out of love with Inez.
Eventually, Gil realizes that we all romanticize the time periods we wish we could inhabit. He decides to live in the present and attempt to be true to himself no matter how much of a struggle that may be. La Vie Boheme. I highly recommend the film - Woody Allen is in top form. The way he treats Paris and his examinations of his characters reminds me of some of his best work like Hannah and Her Sisters, Manhattan, or The Purple Rose of Cairo. Midnight in Paris is a must for any wannabe Parisian or writer that wonders why they aren't bumming around Paris (which is all of them).
Your Golden Girl,
Video appears courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics via Youtube. Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, and MovieReviewFX