Woody Allen’s MIDNIGHT IN PARIS won’t appeal to everyone, but to a writer, literature major and someone who adores Paris the film was nothing short of enchanting.
Gil (Owen Wilson) is a successful Hollywood screen writer with literary dream who has just finished his first novel. He’s in Paris with his fiancé and her parents—all of whom think he should forget the foolishness and go back to writing what makes him a lot of money. While they stick to the chic tourist spots, Gil wanders the city at night imagining what it would be like to live there in the 1920’s when it was the center of the ex-pat literary scene. As he sits on the steps of Montmartre at midnight, an elegant old Peugeot pulls up and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald invite him to a party where his literary and artistic heroes accept him as one of their own. From then on he lives in the present during the day and travels back to the 20’s at night.
The magic of this movie comes to a large degree from Owen Wilson’s ability to play Gil with innocent wonder and enthusiasm that charm his new friends and the audience. I loved that Gil’s dream of writing a great novel is encouraged by the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald while being dismissed by his future family as frivolous. (Isn’t that scenario is all too familiar to a lot of writers?) When Gertrude Stein offers to critique his novel, I nearly cried.
The shots of Paris are gorgeous and the city is as much a character as the actors. If you didn’t pay attention in high school English and have no interest in art, many of the luminaries will be unfamiliar and much of the humor will fall flat. But for me, the film was a delightful surprise and well worth seeing again.
So a question for you writers among us--if you could meet and/or get your manuscript critiqued by a famous writer (living or dead), who would it be?