It's been a very long time since I last saw a Woody Allen flick, and this time too, he didn't disappoint me. 'Midnight in Paris' is about a writer, and his emotional responses towards the things he love the most in his life, and about the choices he decides upon.
Gil Pender, is a famous screenplay writer in Hollywood. After writing a few successful scripts, his mind is entangled towards writing a novel. He is on a vacation trip, enjoying his days in Paris, with his girlfriend Inez. The trip is also to complete his novel. The novel is all about a guy working in a nostalgia shop. We meet Inez's college sweetheart Paul. Paul too is on a vacation with his wife Carol. Now, Paul is like the modern day Tamil pseudo - intellectuals, who, just after glancing the blurb of a book, can talk in volumes about the work. Hence, he constantly irritates Gil, during the trips to the famous places in France. Gil totally loathes the pseudo - intellectual Paul, whereas Gil's girlfriend Inez, is awestruck by the so-called 'erudition' of Paul.
Gradually, Gil feels alienated from this false crowd, and decides to roam around on his own. On one such strolls around Paris, after heavily consuming wine, he loses his way, and ponders about the route to his hotel, when we see a car - a model belonging to the 1920s - approaching Gil, and the passengers insist on Gil accompanying them. The intoxicated Gil gets in to the car, and lo - the adventure begins !
The car stops in a bar, which totally is decorated in the retro style - of the 1920s. A guy is singing a song of Cole Porter, one of Gil's favorite singers. To his amusement, the singer is none other than Cole Porter himself ! Gil then understands that he is in the 1920's, the period, which according to Gil, is the golden age of Paris. An awestruck Gil then meets F. Scott Fitzgerald, the insanely talented writer, who tried his hand in screenplays and later on, committed suicide (check out the Screenplay series in karundhel.com, where I have written about this genius). Gil meets Zelda Fitzgerald too. Zelda feels bored in the bar, and so they go to a different bar, with Gil. Gil meets an angry man there, named Ernest Hemingway !
It's like a dream come true to Gil, to roam around in a period he considers worth living, and with his idols. Hemingway introduces Gil to Gertrude Stein, another genius from the '20s, so that she can edit Gil's novel.
The night ends.
Next day. Observing a restless Gil, Inez thinks he is uninterested to meet her parents that night. Even after the party, when Gil tries to bring Inez to the rendezvous point, she, after waiting for a long time, leaves Gil and goes to the hotel, while, the pick up car comes. This time, Gil meets a painter named Pablo Picasso, and his girlfriend Adriana. Picasso is busy painting Adriana's painting.
The next day, when the pseudo - intellect Paul, after seeing Adriana's painting in a museum, starts to blabber something, Gil interferes, and cites all the details behind the painting, which irritates Paul.
Again, on that night, Gil meets Adriana, who starts to love Gil. Gil too, is intoxicated by this new found love. Adriana finds out that Gil is engaged, and becomes sad. During that time, Gil meets three people, who gets introduced to Gil as Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel and Man Ray. Gil tells them about his predicament, that he is from the future and he has fallen in love with a girl from the past, but the three completely approve his situation, as they are ardent Surrealists and they don't feel that things are awry here.
From then on, the movie becomes more intrigued.
Watch the end, and find out what has happened to Gil.
I found the film totally enjoyable, with the names of a few litterateurs I myself am interested in. And, Paris ! My dream city ! Together with the litterateurs and the beauty of Paris, I was totally engrossed.
Owen Wilson has given a subtle performance as Gil Pender, a person who gets caught between the beauty of the past and the reality of the present. He portrays a dreamy litterateur, who thinks that the past is great and idolizes the writers of the past. One of my favorite actors, Marion Cotillard (A Good Year, Inception), has donned the role of the beautiful, romantic Adriana.
Overall, this is a joy ride in to the lost glory of Paris, and is worthwhile to watch.
See the trailer of 'Midnight in Paris' here.