“Midnight in Paris” is a charming little movie that takes us through the most substantial days in the life of Gil (Owen Wilson), an American in Paris. If you are suddenly reminded of the 1951 Gene Kelly musical, then I commend you. The heroes of both movies are struggling artists who hunger for an inspiration the size of a city. That the capital of France is universally regarded as a stimulant of our mind’s creativity offers no mystery. Elegant by day and dashing by night, Paris is a city of history and architecture, of fashion and romance, of music and dancing, of wine and art. Gracefully photographed by director Woody Allen and cinematographer Darius Khondji, the movie might just prevent arguments between newlyweds who can’t agree on their honeymoon destination.
Gil is an established screenwriter who dreams of writing a novel. He believes that his stay in Paris will provide the atmosphere he needs. Joy and excitement is seen in Gil as he wanders through the city streets. But he is alone in his admiration. His fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), is unsupportive and unfaithful; her eyes drawn by the intellect of another man. Her parents, who are skeptical and obnoxious, are not helping. Straying away from the discouragement, he finds a place of stillness and insight. Every midnight, in the same, empty street, Gil is picked up by the same, classy car, which transports him to 1920’s France. This change in era makes it possible for Gil to become acquainted with some great men of literature, like Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Eliot. That is one awesome car ride. In my country, all unusual cars that pick you up around midnight will probably keep you there until your family comes up with the ransom money.
For obvious reasons, Gil gets hooked in this midnight routine, and he slowly convinces himself that he is a man in the right place at the wrong time. Or maybe he’s just simply with the wrong people. The movie understands the dissatisfaction that some people feel and the alternate lives they create as a distraction. The theme is similar to Allen’s previous film, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stanger”, but “Midnight in Paris” is written more thoughtfully. It has a more endearing hero, and it has a more interesting premise. And it has a nicer view, too.