Starring: Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams
Director: Woody Allen
Running Time: 94 mins
Midnight In Paris is an American film about a struggling writer on the brink of a break-up with his fiancée who finds himself walking into 1920s Paris every night at midnight, where he experiences a significant change in his life.
This is a classically weird and intelligent Woody Allen dramedy. It’s definitely not his best, but it’s still both an entertaining and intriguing ride through the a man’s life and fantasies, with top-notch performances from an A-list cast that do a great job of making this quite an uplifting drama, a sense that is heightened by Allen’s brilliantly quirky screenplay.
Let’s start with that beautiful atmosphere that is created in this film, one of dreams and nostalgia, every time that Owen Wilson’s character travels back to the 1920s. The modern day periods are still interesting, but they’re more important to show the difficulties of this man, so they’re not so entertaining to watch, but still vital and increasingly intriguing to understanding the story as a whole.
However, it’s an absolute delight every time that we’re sent back to the roaring twenties. It’s not just the fashion, the scenery, the music and the overall physical difference that creates the magical sensation of this dreamlike world, but the way in which the characters all appear so differently in comparison to the stressful modern world, an image projected onto the historical characters by the man’s romanticised perspective of the 1920s, makes these parts of the film so pleasant to watch.
Also, the way that the story unfolds is massively entertaining. Despite at points having some darker undertones like many of Woody Allen’s films, the plot here is a lot of fun. Whether it’s the rocky relationship between the writer and his fiancée, or the many historical figures that he meets on his journeys back to the 20s, there’s a lot of stuff to be either excited by or massively entertained by, and it’s that near hyperbolic writing that prevents this from ever descending into dangerous pretentious territory.
As well as the great writing, the performances here are fantastic. Owen Wilson is very good in what is a well-restrained performance, whilst supporting players Marion Cotillard, Corey Stoll, Kathy Bates, Léa Seydoux, Rachel McAdams and a whole host more are once again both fun and impressive in this intriguing film.
On the downside, there are parts of this film that are just a bit too light. Yes, it’s interesting and entertaining, but it doesn’t have that emotional purchase that you would expect from a story as sentimental and nostalgic as this, meaning that, despite being interested in the characters, when things go up in the air in their personal lives, nothing is really that impacting on your emotions, making for an overall fun film which is occasionally a little superficial in that respect, and that’s why this gets a 7.3.