Monday, May 30, 2011

Midnight In Paris

Woody Allen's love letter to Paris is a charming light comedy and a most unexpected romance. It opens with a video postcard to the "City of Lights" before we even see the title credits. Mr. Allen's avatar this time around is Owen Wilson, as Gil, and his love affair with the Paris of old and new drives the plot.

While on vacation there with his fiancée, Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, Gil is magically transported each night at midnight to Paris of the 1920's where he meets and parties with the likes of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway and many other literary figures and artists of the time. He also develops a crush on Marion Cotillard (who wouldn't) who plays a woman drawn into affairs with the famous.

Gil is a screenwriter but longs to be taken seriously as a novelist. He brings his first novel to Gertrude Stein for a critique. Gertrude is played by Kathy Bates and she is terrific. All of the historical casting is spot on. Adrian Brody, in particular is a very funny Salvador Dali.

During the day, Gil contends with Inez, her parents and her annoying know-it-all ex-boyfriend, played by Michael Sheen but each night he is taken back to his magical era. Mr. Allen never explains the time travel but does draw us to Gil's eventual revelation that changes his life.

The film is an enjoyable soufflé without the calories.

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