Running Time: 94 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: Spain, United States
Midnight in Paris is a romance but not in the conventional sense. Not because it’s a quirky, existential, original take on romance and time travel but rather because it’s an idealised, nostalgic love letter to the perfect, supercool, luvvy-duvvy city of Paris. It’s not the first time Woody Allen has fallen head over heals in love with a metropolitan area of housing and industry – VIcky Christina Barcelona was obviously a homage to Sunderland – but hopefully it will be the last. Midnight in Paris might be the overly sentimental, naive depiction of Paris that an eighteen year old gap year student has entrenched in their head but it is still pretty good nonetheless.
Owen Wilson is Gil, a fairly successful Hollywood writer who still dreams of writing a great literary novel. Looking down on bland contemporary culture, as he sees it, he travels to Paris with his testy fiancee Inez (McAdams) to be influenced by his perfect version of the city. On a midnight stroll one night he is picked up by a strange automobile that teleports him back to the 1920s where he meets a whole host of literary legends, including Dali, F Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso and many more. He falls in love with Picasso’s beautiful mistress Adriana (Cotillard) but finds that she is as unimpressed with her era and he is with his.
The things that Woody Allen does well here is that he has a pretty original idea that’s partly whimsical but partly clever and talky. The cavalcade of historical literary figures are unveiled believably and with just the right amount of screentime for each one as is needed. It’s quite fun to see which figure or which semi-recognizable actor will turn up next. As with much of the modern Woody Allen collection though, it’s not quite as clever or as funny as it should be.
It's Got: A unique idea, a cavalcade of recognizable characters, a slightly muted feel
It Needs: To be more subtle about his love for Paris, more laughs
Alternatives:The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The Purple Rose Of Cairo, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
A unique romance from Woody Allen that’s fairly entertaining but slightly muted. If only he didn’t make it look so much like he wants to have sexual relations with the city of Paris.