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Midnight in Paris

Posted by martinteller on December 24, 2011

This explores similar territory as Purple Rose of Cairo and Alice, with a dose of magic realism (or maybe just plain magic) and a look at the unattainability of idealized romanticism.  For the most part, the film irritated me.  I did like where it ended up, but getting there was not fun.  The setup in the first 15 minutes is painful, with everyone sliding into narrow, phony, pre-defined roles.  And then we get to the parade of shallow 1920’s references.  Maybe the point is that Gil’s perception of his idols is shallow, but it was still annoying to see Hemingway (and Stein and Picasso and Baker, et cetera et cetera) doing the equivalent of waving his hands around saying “Look at me, I’m Hemingway!”  Everything is WAY too on-the-nose, in both the modern time and the past.  Owen Wilson is vaguely likeable as he naturally is (and thankfully not trying to imitate Allen that much), but his character is frankly a drag.  McAdams and Sheen come off like straw men, not real human beings in the slightest (sure, we all know people like them, but it’s just too simplistic to reduce them to such easy targets).  Moreover, I didn’t find very much of it funny or even that charming.  The whole thing was unsatisfying and disappointing.  I think Woody needs to try something radically different.  Rating: Poor


2 Responses to “Midnight in Paris”

  1. kevlarcardhouse said

    Agreed on all points. They could have made Rachel McAdam’s character clearly a bad fit for him without making her the physical embodiment of selfish, superficial America, and Owen Wilson actually lays out the lessons he learned at the end in which felt extremely condescending. As someone who tends to defend latter Woody Allen films in general, I found it weird that one I really detested seemed to get a lot of attention from both critics and audiences.

    • Allen used to be one of my favorite directors, and when I was young, maybe #1. I’m less and less interested in him as time goes on. While I don’t care about his personal life that much, it isn’t helping either. My desire to see Blue Jasmine is quite low, but I’ll probably see it eventually just out of habit. His career has always been hit-or-miss (let’s not forget September or A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy) but lately it’s a whole lot of miss with not very impressive hits.

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