Midnight in Paris

Written and directed by Woody Allen
On general release from 7th October 2011

Reviewed by John Owen

A masterpiece from start to finish, not to overstate it, a subtle understated performance from Owen Wilson playing the blocked writer hidden inside a hack Hollywood scriptwriter, seeking inspiration in Paris with his vacuous, pretty fiancé and the stiff parents.

A thoughtful use of the genre and style like the Parisian salons of old literature, art and film fusing to make Paris the freest city in the world, an escape and exiles’ hub for many a radical and stranger to meet and merge with and transform the culture. Paris by day or by night, in the rain or dry, is the city that does the talking in the film. The actors merely decorate the set, as the city is the film.

Seems to me a bit semi autobiographical, I thought also a touch light on the dialogue, very whimsical and almost Spartan, only a master could get away with this lean interaction of character Gertrude Stein, the hub of artistic life played by Kathy Bates, it adds a perfect counterweight to lost soul approach of Wilson.

A writers dream is entered by midnight on the steps of a street, a venerable cornucopia of greats – Earnest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, TS Elliot, Dali – all the brilliant luminaries of culture are referenced, layered together mosaic style and used to contrast with the bland, paranoid, pompous and reactionary Americans her parents portray. This film pokes fun at the materialistically inclined American capitalist culture, full of Tea Party Republican zombies weighing up the cost of culture in antique shops as Oscar Wilde, another exile to Paris, put it “those who know the price of everything but the value of nothing”, American freedom fries to go please.

This film is for lovers of film, of life, love and, above all, beautiful places. Those that see art in the everyday, on the streets not just in Paris but perhaps in all cities and towns, you just need to follow what’s in your heart to see the beauty and magic all around.

I doff my hat to Mr Director’s film, from the birthplace of cinema by one of its great practioners. Woody Allen is a genius and then some.

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Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by dazza on 21st November, 2011 at 16:54
Great to see John producing a lot of great reviews. Bloody marvelous

Comment left by TB on 15th November, 2011 at 14:26
Liked the film, loved the review! Know the film better.