A Midnight in Paris, 2011, U.S.A
Director: Woody Alan
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marian Cotillard & Cathy Bates
The great films are the ones that get you thinking. They make you consider thoughts and provoke emotion. A Midnight in Paris does not do that. By no means would I ever consider this to the likes of The Shinning or Into the Wild, and although elements of Woody Alan’s direction are good, he's got nothing on Scorsese or Kubrick. But sometimes it's nice to watch a light movie and I always like it when a film can make me smile. Not think, not cry, not change, but just smile and enjoy and laugh a bit.
In 2010 Gil, the want-to-be novelist (Wilson), and his fiancée Inez travel to Paris. While Inez (played by Rachel McAdams) is of spending time with her friends; Gil is left wondering through the streets of the elegant city that he finds himself in. It's Paris, but a golden age Paris of the 1920's. Gil travels forwards and backwards in time throughout the film developing his novel with the aid of some legendary writers of the past which he meets in his travels.
The plot is simple and not very original. Characters are under developed and incorrectly casted. Direction can get a bit sloppy at times, but I don't know what it is. I still think it’s kinda good.
Although this film has a plot and contains characters, at its core it's just another movie about Paris. Alan has really tried to capture the beauty of the city and has done so very well. I now have an urge to travel to Paris more than ever after seeing this film. Darius Khondji is very talented behind the camera and the cinematograph displayed in the opening scene captures the city of love to a tee! At times I felt as if he was ripping of Kubrick a bit, but I guess, all good film makers do.
What this film didn't have was a good cast. I liked and enjoyed some if the characters such as the lovely but hopeless Marion Cotillard, but other characters just felt boring and were poorly acted. I don't think that actors like Kurt Fuller did a justifiable job at all. I can't get to angry at the actors here though because I know that Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody can act. They were just incorrectly casted and not developed enough as characters. For that, I blame Woody.
Having said that, Owen Wilson is in his prime here. He is an awkward, loveable, hopeless romantic and the role of the lost writer looking for inspiration is where he belongs as an actor. The character Gil really plays to his strength and he was the defiant highlight of the cast.
It's a cheeky little film. Not quite a comedy, certainty not a drama, there’s no action, only a little romance, it's just a quiet little nothing film about Paris. The storyline is basic and the characters aren't too interesting, but I don't care. I liked it. It's a bit fun.