Woody Allen‘s highly mysterious (and rightfully so) film Midnight in Paris has made its way back from Cannes and will be appearing in theaters in America this weekend. For me, this is one of my favorite Woody Allen films in a long time. It’s not necessarily what you would expect from Allen, though it does follow certain patterns we’ve come to know from him and one can definitely see references to his earlier work. There’s something both nostalgic and yet fresh about the film that makes it fun to watch. It’s finely made, finely acted and overall a fine picture to find yourself at this weekend…

The Players:

  • Director/Writer: Woody Allen
  • Actors: Owen Wilson, Tom Hiddleston, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody, Alison Pill, Kathy Bates, Corey Stoll
  • Cinematography by: Darius Khondji

The Plot:

Mightnight in Paris is romantic comedy with a twist (that will not be given away in this review). The film starts with a couple traveling to the French capital for business and their different reactions to the world around them. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.

The Good:

  • The Acting: For me Corey Stoll who plays Ernest (no need for a last name here) steals the show. He does a fantastic job of bringing his character to life in a fun and lively way. Wilson is one of Allen’s best leads in a while, mainly because he’s so NOT Woody Allen like. His laid back persona allows you to watch a Woody Allen film without watching Woody Allen. Michael Sheen, brilliant as an American playing an anglophile. Alison Pill, Kathy Bates, Tom Hiddleston (I’m just listing the cast now) and all the rest all gave wonderful and surprising performances.
  • The Concept: Without giving anything away, it’s a bit far-fetched and not something entirely new, but the way that Allen handles the idea with such a nonchalance is really quite fun.
  • The Scenery: Allen and his cinematographer Darius Khondji really do an amazing job of capturing the feel, almost the smell of Paris in the spring time. They take their time establishing the location, light the scenes in a way that makes everyone and everything glow, and use some classic music to help you take it all in. Really well done.

The So-So:

  • Not Broad: This is not a film for everyone, and without giving too much away, you need to have a certain amount of knowledge of art history and literature and desire to know more about it in order to really find the film amusing. If you’re a nerd like me, it’s a blast and really fun to see so many well known faces, as well known names on the big screen.
  • Allen Cliches: It’s hard not to see patterns repeating themselves, it’s up to you whether you see that as good or bad. I for one didn’t mind them, in fact I rather enjoyed them, others may easily have a different opinion and one I can understand, just not relate to.

Overall:

This was a really interesting film and if you have any knowledge of literature or art your will definitely appreciate the references and find it humorous. It’s one of Allen’s better films of late, it’s extremely well made and the acting is superb. It was really a pleasant, fun experience to sit down to, and one well worth watching,

Rating: 7.3/10

Midnight in Paris will be in theaters starting May 20th!

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