Midnight in Paris (2011)

Posted on August 28, 2013


I feel like I gave Owen Wilson short-shrift in my review of The Big Year, so this week I am going to make it up to him (and you).


Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) travel to Paris, tagging along with her parents (Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy) who are on a business trip. Gil is a successful screenwriter struggling with his first novel. He is also in love with Paris, and especially the Gilded Age of the city when it played host to the likes of Salvador Dali, TS Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein.

When Inez goes dancing with some friends (including Paul, played by Michael Sheen), Gil goes for a midnight walk in Paris, and discovers something magical.

Short Verdict

This movie won an AFI award (Movie of the Year) and an Oscar (Best Original Screenplay). It was nominated for two Saturn awards and three other Oscars.

I really enjoyed this movie.

Longer Review

Holy cow, look at that cast: Alison Pill, Tom Hiddleston, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, and Adrien Brody!

Look at those characters: Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, Alice B. Toklas, Salvador Dali, TS Eliot, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas, Luis Bunuel, and Gertrude Stein!


Obviously, as a writer, I am predestined to like a movie about a writer, but let’s set that aside for the moment, and address the elephant in the room:

This is a Woody Allen movie.

Some people despise Woody Allen for marrying his adopted daughter. If that’s you, stay away from this movie.

Some people despise Woody Allen for constantly playing the same neurotic character who somehow always manages to get the girl. If that’s you, then good news: Woody Allen does not appear in this film.


Gil is the Woody Allen stand-in. Fortunately, Owen Wilson doesn’t do neurotic. He can do repressed and badgered. He can do someone struggling to find inspiration. He makes no attempt at all to ape Woody Allen’s mannerisms. Gil is Wilson’s own character.

Even if you know nothing about this movie, you must realize from that list of characters that Gil wanders into 1920’s Paris, and meets people that he idolizes as writers and artists. Woody Allen handles the transitions marvelously. They are subtle and magical, and yet clear and distinct. You always know when Gil is.


The characters are also magnificently distinct and memorable, both in the present and in the past.


A feast for eyes and ears, Midnight in Paris deserves its acclaim and was well worth watching.


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Posted in: Movies