Monday, June 13, 2011


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 fiancĂ© 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?


Anonymous said...

I'll have to see the movie!! My daughter will love it too...she's actually been to Paris and loved it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Lark. I have GOT to see this movie!

To answer your question, I'm not sure who I'd have read/critique my work. Maybe Sherrilyn Kenyon, or Janet Evanovich. Hmm...

Lark Howard said...

Good choices, Jenn, and remotely possible since they're still alive. :-)

Ruth said...

I was intrigued by the trailers, now I am definitly interested in seeing the movie.As to who I would like critique my manuscript, I don't know.That would take some thought,I don't consider anything I write as literary. Great blog, thanks for the movie review.

Sally Felt said...

Cool story concept. And I love that era! If I miss it at the theater, I'll definitely catch it on Netflix.

As for my dream critique... My top choices among the living would be Spider Robinson, Suzanne Collins, Alan Garner, Kim Harrison, Neil Gaiman and the wonderful Jonathan Carroll.

Lark Howard said...

That would be an interesting critique group, Sally!

Sally Felt said...

Yes it would! Thanks for sending me out to check on my heroes. I didn't know anything about Alan Garner as a person, but wow, is his story amazing.

Pronounced dead on three separate occasions before he was 10, knows how to survive on "things like nettles and hedgehogs," lives in a 15th-century timber framed house, and last year saw the 50th anniversary edition of his first novel.

Oh. And he's bipolar.

I feel like such a slacker!

Lark Howard said...

I must admit I've never read him, Sally. Sounds like a fascinating guy.

BTW, did you know that the crazy brother in the Hangover movies is also named Alan Garner? He's definitely not someone you want critiquing your work.

Bethany said...


I've been lucky enough to have had Kim Lenox look at the first chapter of my novel and gave me great feedback (which really helped improve that chapter). Let's see...if I could, I'd have Kerrelyn Sparks and Christie Craig critique. Both of them are such wonderful people and I enjoy their work.

I wouldn't mind if Laura Childs had a crack at it. I don't know if she reads fantasy romance that has paranormal elements in it, I've never asked her.

I would ask Georgette Heyer, but she's been dead since the 1970's. But still, her work is a lot fun. I haven't read her mysteries, but I've read several (14 of them--and still haven't even gotten near reading all of them LOL) of her Historical Romances and they're great.

I saw this post the other day and thought I had written a comment, but apparently I hadn't. Anyway, I'm enjoying your blog :-)