DIR/WRI: Woody Allen • PRO: Letty Aronson, Jaume Roures, Stephen Tenenbaum • ED: Alisa Lepselter • DOP: Johanne Debas , Darius Khondji • DES: Anne Seibel • CAST: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates
Since leaving his native New York to set up shop in Europe, Woody Allen has reached some of the highs (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Match Point) and lows (Cassandra’s Dream, Scoop) of his career. Thankfully, Midnight in Paris counts not only as one of the best of Allen’s recent output, but also his biggest ever box-office hit.
Owen Wilson plays a self-deprecating Hollywood screenwriter who is trying to finish his first novel. While holidaying in Paris with his fiancé (Rachel McAdams), her secret crush (Michael Sheen) and her parents, Wilson goes for a walk alone in the city at night and somehow finds himself transported to Paris circa 1920, and soon he is in the company of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Salvador Dali and almost every other early 20th century artist or writer you can think of. In the middle of this creative hub is Adriana (Marion Cotillard), whose beauty was the muse of many of the famous names mentioned above, and who Wilson promptly falls in love with. But will he decide to stay in his perceived ‘Golden Age’ of Paris with this new love, or return to the 21st century and a life he’s unsure of?
This vaguely sci-fi-ish central premise is played loose, so as not to weigh down the inherent comedy and romance of the situation. Allen uses this film not only as a love letter to Paris, with every shot brimming over with the city’s natural beauty, but also a love letter to writing, to music, to history, to love itself. Reminiscent of the fantastically romantic Amelie, this is exactly the kind of movie they hardly ever make anymore. And prepare to feel the overwhelming urge to buy a ticket to Paris the second the end credits begin.
Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
Midnight in Paris is released on 7th October 2011