Midnight in Paris is a must-watch film for people who have permanent wanderlust, a fascination with literary legends and a soft spot for romance.
The film centers around Gil (Owen Wilson) who is on a trip to Paris with his haughty WASP fiancé, Inez (Rachel McAdams). A successful Hollywood screenwriter, Gil ironically shows a fascination with the history of literature and detests his “Hollywood sellout” scripts. He decides he wants to write a novel in which the protagonist works at a nostalgia shop -obviously a metaphor for Gil himself, who seems to think that 1920’s Paris was a true golden age.
Be warned, McAdam’s fans. You will absolutely hate Inez, who is unsupportive and condescending of Gil’s aspirations. The end of the film reveals that she has cheated on Gil with her pseudo-intellectual friend Paul (Michael Sheen), who is even more irritating than she is.
McAdam’s aside, the film is rich with art history that Gil is able to experience firsthand. Gil teleports to 1920’s Paris where he is able to mingle with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, the Fitzgerald’s (Zelda is just as loony as one would imagine and a younger Tom Hiddleston is lovely as F. Scott), Cole Porter and Edgar Degas to name a few. There’s also, of course, a love interest with Coco Chanel’s former fashion intern, Adriana (Marion Cotillard). These legends, particularly Hemingway, are able to give Gil some much needed advice:
“I believe that love that is true and real, creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing. And then the man who is brave and true looks death squarely in the face, like some rhino-hunters I know or Belmonte, who is truly brave… It is because they make love with sufficient passion, to push death out of their minds… until it returns, as it does, to all men… and then you must make really good love again.” -Ernest Hemingway to Gil
Although Adriana is living in what Gil refers to as the “golden age,” she does not seem to think so. She is able to teleport to the late 1800’s, a time period in which ballet and can can dancers ran wild. Adriana claims that this is in fact the golden age of Paris, ultimately deciding to stay. Moral of the story: Gil realizes that his fascination with the past is foolish. Nostalgia may be enticing, but it is always better to live in the present.
Also, you know when you fall asleep and wake up to the annoying theme music of your DVD playing in the menu? Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris score is beautiful jazz. You actually enjoy it.