Saturday, 21 January 2012

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris, 2011
Directed by Woody Allen
Potential Nominations Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay

Synopsis: Engaged couple, Gil and Inez have come to Paris with Inez's parents as tag-alongs on her parent's business trip. Gil instantly falls in love with the city, ready to give up his life as Hollywood screenwriter, his life in California to live in Paris and finish his novel he's been labouring over. Inez feels differently, and see's it as a tourist trip, and more looks forward to going out dancing with her friends, than taking in the city like Gil. But after midnight, Gil experiences something very strange on the streets or Paris. Suddenly it's Paris 1920, he gets invited into an old car, taken about the city and meets people like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso. But while he seems to be discovering himself, and where his heart truly lies, he's also discovering where his heart doesn't lie.

Ironically, this is probably the last potential Best Picture nominee I'll need to see, but it was the first one released, making it's debut in theatres in June. I've heard so many good things about it since then, it having been nominated for all 4 Guild Awards (SAG, PGA, DGA, WGA), making it a lock for a Best Picture nomination. Also, it's Woody Allen, who is extremely well known and loved. So, naturally, I've been waiting a while to see this film.

Knowing the concept I was wondering how it would pan out without seeming cheesy, or simple, or just plain generic. But it was done very well, and I could see the moral of it The idea of nostalgia is brought up very early on and we can see where this film is headed. Gil is determined 1920's is the Golden Age, between the writing and the art, and the music.

Overall, I didn't find the movie ah-mazing, but I did enjoy it. It was nice to see Owen Wilson in a different type of role, and seeing that he actually does have some talent, hidden behind those awful movies he usually does was nice. He was well-acted, funny, and just so human. He was star-struck, but at the same time retrospective as well as introspective. While it wasn't an Oscar winning performance, or even worth a nomination, I enjoyed him as Gil. We saw Marion Cottilard as Adriana, the alluring French woman that has captured the hearts of Picasso, a variety of famous painters, and, finally, Gil. Marion was completely alluring, yet seemingly innocent, and played her part well. Everyone in the cast did a great job, and it was a hefty cast indeed including Rachel McAdams as Inez, Tom Hiddleston as Fitzgerald, Kathy Bates are Gertrude Stein, Michael Sheen as Paul, the intelligent man that Inez adores. The casting was great, and made it star-studded, but not overly so, though well-done.

Owen really carried the film on his shoulders. We really understood Gil, where he was coming from, and his aggrevation at Paul being a know it all, Inez shushing him and adoring Paul, and just trying to finish his novel, looking for better life than his shallow one in California. The story was just told in a way that we so believed. We were able to put off our sense of disbelief and just accept everything, and we couldn't understand why Inez didn't see it, or why she didn't understand. Gil was a very likable character, and was told so honestly.

Additionally, the shots of Paris really were beautiful. I felt like I saw so much of the city, though I've never been to it. We understood Gil's love for the city, and we see what he sees, the beauty in everything. Also, the costumes were great, and were just so 1920's (obviously), but they were just so well done. The hair, the dresses, the suits, everything just looked so great, but in a subtle way. We could see it was still the same Paris that Gil and Inez are in, but it's also the one Hemingway and Fitzgerald lived in. The same, yet subtly different. The screenplay was also well-written. As I mentioned, Gil is such a believable character, but yet so are so many of the others, including Inez, and Hemingway, and Adriana. It had touches or humor, but it was also touching, and intelligent.

Overall, again, I thought it was a good movie. It was a nice, humorous story about a couple who are clearly not right for each other, and the idea of never being satisfied with where and who we are. Had people not known the references in the film it wouldn't be appreciated, and I only picked up on about 75%, enough to appreciate, but also just a little too much I didn't know that I felt slightly left out. I liked it, I'd watch it again, and I'd recommend it, but it's not my top film of the year. Didn't hate it, didn't die over it. It was a nice film, with a nice story.


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