It’s just an absolute delight, plain and simple. Midnight in Paris is quintessential Allen, and it is a marvel from the first minute to the last. It’s a slim volume in the Woody back-catalogue, which doesn’t overstay its welcome and instead manages to pack more entertainment and original ideas into ninety minutes than most recent Allen movies do in two hours. It leaves the audience craving more. Not only of the breathtaking cinematography that exhibits the elegance and natural beauty of modern-day Paris, but also the Paris of the 20’s, the Paris of the 1890’s, and even the Versailles of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette (however brief a glimpse we get). Allen has not been so enjoyable, witty and truly inspirational since his original heyday, and it’s a great joy seeing the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Dali speak with a Woody-twist. The 20’s is a period Allen revels in and thus is perfect at whipping up impeccable dialogue. Owen Wilson’s Gil is playing Woody (as all his leads do), but he brings a warmth and genuine realism that grounds the movie despite the fantastical aspects (and despite being surrounded by surrealists). Despite the premise, it never falls into pretentiousness and instead lights interest and a deep burning desire to enjoy the present.
Director Appreciation Week 1 Review: Midnight in Paris (2011)