We don’t have a film degree here at Cogswell, nor am I qualified to tell you that a movie has great direction, beautiful cinematography, and choice actors for each role. Regardless of all these facts, it will be my arrogance and fandom that tells all who read this to go check out Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”. A movie filled with jokes and references to 1920’s famous artists, we follow Gil Pender who’s Hollywood scripts have gained him much fame and fortune but not happiness. From the trailer it is shown that it was shot in the streets of Paris, France and emphasized much of the movie’s focus on the beauty of the cobblestone streets and magnificent sculptures and man does the movie show off!
I won’t spoil anything for you, but the opening for the movie will make you realize that the money you paid to get into the theatre wasn’t to sit down and see a directed film. No, the opening of the film is there to set you up for the story that follows and immerses you into its universe. Most films these days don’t take that time to set you up for the story that lies ahead and just drops you down into it like you were there the whole time which just (at least for me) ruins the whole reason why I paid 8.50 for a movie ticket.
The stars of this movie include the styles of Alison Pil playing Zelda Fitzgerald, Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali, Corey Stoll whose Earnest Hemingway impression absolutely steals every scene that he is in, and the star Owen Wilson playing the part of Gil Pender. Now we all know that Owen Wilson has a track record for playing roles that are ridiculous and have wacky overtones imbedded into their personality but this movie does the exact opposite of something like, oh say, a movie set in England circa 1880. The character that he plays in this movie is a disgruntled writer who hates his status in Hollywood as a “talented” scriptwriter when all of his movies are things he could have written in his sleep and has a true passion for writing fiction novels. I don’t know about you guys, but say to me that Owen Wilson would be playing this kind of role and I’d have laughed right in your face and called you a complete moron. Luckily I would have been put quickly in my place after watching his excellent performance which, again I tell you is excellent! Never have I had an experience watching Owen take his time with situations in movies and it was well deserved to see him show off his acting muscles.
Above everything that makes this movie great other than the direction and the acting was the writing. Oh man the writing above all things in this movie! It was almost a shock to sit down and believe that all the actors playing these art historians that lived decades ago were actually like they were portrayed in the film. For the exception of a few artists that had obvious personas, it was great to see the actors combine creative freedom and reference so as to not over or undersell their character. I’ll tell you what, go read any of Hemingway’s work and then watch the movie where after you tell me that the movie version isn’t pretty damn close to the real thing. This movie is just great for all the right reasons which include that it was written and directed by Woody Allan. If that name alone isn’t enough to get you to go see this movie, you probably haven’t seen his other work in which case I implore you to go do so right now. Then following that you go watch “Midnight In Paris”. Bring your friends, bring your girlfriend, bring your art history majors, but leave the kids. Although this is a funny move, kids definitely won’t get most of the humor presented, and for good reason. Happy watching everyone!