Midnight in Paris is the new Woody Allen film, which opened in Cannes this year. The official plot is: “A romantic comedy about a family travelling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own would be better.”
The plot was thought-provoking in that it made me wonder how much of my past I romanticise, and why. As we go through the different eras of Parisian culture and meet the relevant figures, we see that nobody is happy with their life in the present. We’re a Franglais household, and are always (playfully) mocking each other’s culture. My husband’s most frequent comment is that “British people like nothing more than drinking tea and harking back to the old times”. True enough. The latter, however, is universal. Whether thinking about school, ex-partners, fashion, etc, don’t we all hark back?
As I wrote to a friend, “I am ready to leave my husband for Marion Cotillard”. Owen’s character calls her “ravishing” and holy smokes, it’s the most honest line in the film. She plays Adriana, a woman capable of captivating the hearts of Picasso, Hemingway and er… Milla! There is something mysterious, exotic and luminous about the character. Is it just me, or does the 1920s get-up suit her?
What I liked most about the film though is that each character is believable. Rachel McAdams as the bitchy LA fiancée annoyed me so much that I actually had to remind myself that I like her as an actress. Poor Owen! Adrien Brody is freakin’ hilarious as Dali. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is as poised as one would expect France’s First Lady to be, and as she appeared on-screen, the audience all started to whisper. It was pretty cute.
It was a nice film to watch on a chilled Saturday afternoon but nothing life changing. Some of the clichéd views of Americans as unappreciative of true beauty (in the form of Paris) may be hard to swallow for some viewers, but this is softened by Owen’s character Gil’s strong enthusiasm for life la vie française, and the knowledge that the Americans I’ve been fortunate enough to meet here, love this city. Other than Marion, the best part was the scenery of Paris. Yes, some shots were of the clichéd Eiffel Tower but I feel no shame in telling you that I absolutely adore this monument. Maybe after 10 years here, I will become a true Parisian and not care, but for now, this is the most beautiful city in The West and the film does it justice.
What did you make of the film?