May 21, 2012
Movie Monday: Midnight in Paris
I wanted to love Midnight in Paris. It's a terrific premise - modern writer goes back in time to 1920's Paris to hang out with the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Dali, Man Ray, and more. I loved seeing interpretations of various famous artists, although many of them needed to be more drunk. (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill as the Fitzgeralds? Two better actors couldn't have been chosen. But they seemed far too sober.)
But the characters at the heart of the story, Gil Pender, Inez, and Adriana, didn't capture my heart. Inez, played by the lovely Rachel Adams, is clearly going to be dumped by the end of the movie because she doesn't see the romance in Paris and that is a cardinal sin in a film titled Midnight in Paris. Adriana catches Gil's attention when he slips into the twenties because she is played by Marion Cotillard and thus cannot be ignored. She was my favorite of the three, but she's less of a character in herself and more of a foil for Gil and the vehicle for his big epiphany.
As for Gil . . . I love Owen Wilson. He's got charisma and comic timing, which are extremely important in a comedy's protagonist. But not even he could make me like Gil. Gil is the sensitive romantic, a writer longing for an idealized past. The sensitive romantic who is rude to the people who paid for his trip to Paris, reads a prospective lover's diary without her knowledge, and attempts to steal his current girlfriend's earring in order to gift them to said prospective lover.
If the premise of Midnight in Paris intrigues you, then it's probably worth a watch. Otherwise, I'd stick to the terrific soundtrack. (Plenty of Sidney Bechet and Cole Porter, oh yes.)