Midnight in Paris
After a very very busy weekend, and a somewhat intense Monday at work, I needed a break–so Joe and I went to see the new Woody Allen Midnight in Paris at our neighborhood movie theater. It was exactly the right thing!
Owen Wilson plays Gil, a screenwriter on vacation in Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams) and her family. Gil, enchanted by the notion of Paris in the 1920s during the golden age of expatriate writers and artists, is working on a novel and regretting his choice to live in Hollywood over Paris in his younger years. While wandering tipsy and lost through the winding Parisian streets, Gil is whisked away in an antique car, and finds himself in the storied Paris of his dreams. Soon, he’s attending parties with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, drinking with Ernest Hemingway, and persuading Gertrude Stein to read his novel.
Famous artists, poets, dancers, and musicians of the age pop in and out, as though you’re reading a society column from a 1920s newspaper. Luckily, having read A Moveable Feast, I knew it was based in truth and not extrapolated from Woody Allen’s active imagination. I was in on the joke, but so is everyone else–that’s what works about the movie. It’s a fun romp through time, full of beautiful and eccentric characters from our collective cultural imagination.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s a gorgeous movie to look at–the scenery of Paris, coupled with the costumes and vintage details, are riveting, even without the witty dialogue that punctuates any Woody Allen film. Ultimately, Midnight in Paris is a movie about nostalgia–about those eras we all wish we had lived in, about our conceptions of the past, and about what can make our present measure up.
What place and time do you wish you could travel back to? I would love to see London in the 1960s.