Midnight in Paris Review

Midnight in Paris is a 2011 romantic comedy written and directed by Woody Allen. This film is often seen as one of Woody Allen's best and definitely his greatest work in recent memory.

Story
The setup is that a struggling writer (Owen Wilson) and his polar opposite fiancé (Rachel McAdams) are on vacation in Paris with her parents and two of their friends. Longing for the France of old and wanting to experience the romance of the legendary city, he takes a walk late at night. Once the clock strikes twelve, however, he somehow travels back in time to his sought after 1920s Paris where he meets exaggerated caricatures of famous artists and writers. This sets him on a road of love, self fulfillment and discovery.

This film was definitely made to appeal to artists/writers, because they can easily identify with the main character. He's often awkward around others, he feels under appreciated and over looked and he has a great passion for the art of his idols. Every creative mind has felt like they're out of place or time at some point in their lives. You feel as though you were born in the wrong decade or that everybody around you just misunderstands how you see the world. Also, even if they don't have a great love for the 20s specifically, every artist would love the feeling of meeting their favorite writer, painter or even sculptor.

The other characters, like the historical figures, are very over the top and funny. There's a great scene in a bar with Salvador Dali that I won't spoil for you, but it's one of the most memorable moments in the movie.

The screenplay is fantastic. It finds a great mix between natural and stylized that's fun to listen to. The script is also funny, but the weird thing is I often didn't find myself laughing at the dialogue. The humor often came from the moments of silence following an odd statement or the gobsmacked face of a character astonished by what he had just seen.

Technical
Paris is shot and lit beautifully. A lot of the Paris landscape is a sort of peach color, which really shouldn't work, but it helps the colorful objects like trees, cars and water stand out. At night, they use beautiful yellows and oranges that help give the city an old, warm feeling. It's quite relaxing.

The costume design is clean, classy and accurate. Whenever he goes to the 20s, the suits and dresses they wear look exactly like what they would wear back then. The colors are also great; Wilson's character is often the only one wearing bright colors. This not only helps us identify him better, but symbolizes his passion compared to everybody else around him.

The interior set design for the past is top notch. Everything is made up of a brown wood to make it all feel older, but it also feels classier. The atmosphere is welcoming.

The acting is the real technical highlight of the movie. This is a fantastic cast and they all do a fantastic job portraying their historical figure parodies. I've never really thought of Owen Wilson as a good actor, but here he does a great job, easily portraying the protagonist's naivety and hopeless romanticism.

Summary: Midnight in Paris is a movie that was made for artists. Anybody who's mainly creative will relate to this movie and love it. Others will enjoy the dialogue and acting and visual aesthetic, but creators will find a kindred spirit in the soul of this movie. However, the message about finding happiness in where you are in life will find a kindred spirit in everybody.

A-

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