Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: Midnight in Paris (2011)

(This is the seventh of my reviews for the Period Drama Challenge.) 

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a successful Hollywood writer, but he's not satisfied. He'd rather be a novelist, and wistfully dreams of bygone times - specifically, Paris during the 1920's... in the rain. He's a hopeless romantic, struggling with his first novel during a trip to Paris with his fiancée, Inez and her parents. What better place to find inspiration?

Inez (Rachel McAdams) is less than encouraging about his novel, though, and she's disturbed by his enthused suggestion that they move to Paris after their wedding. She wants to live in Malibu, California, and she's only in Paris for the shopping. She drags Gil along to wherever she wants to go: dinner with her parents, looking at ridiculously expensive furniture or touring famous places with her irritating friend Paul and his wife Carol.

Paul, Carol and Inez listening to Gil talk about Picasso.
Gil just wants to wander the streets of Paris, and after one exhausting day of being an obedient tourist, he decides to skip dancing with Inez and her friends, and does just that. When the clock strikes midnight, the magic starts. 
Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald
 A vintage car picks him up and takes him on a whirlwind evening where he sees Cole Porter perform, runs into Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (played to perfection by Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill) and meets Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) himself. Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) agrees to read his novel and give him some tips. Among other famous people, he also meets the beautiful subject of one of Picasso's paintings, Adriana (Marion Cotillard).
Adriana and Gil walking the streets of 1920's Paris.
Once he gets over the shock, he realizes this is his chance to live his perfect fantasy... or is it? Through his brief trips to the 1920's, Gil learns that the idealized past isn't as perfect as it may seem. You just can't live in the past, and you can't truly live in your present if you're constantly wishing for a bygone era. Time in the past gives him insight for his future, and zest for the life he's supposed to live in the 21st century. 

Owen Wilson as Gil Pender
Owen Wilson isn't my favorite actor, but I think he fits the part of Gil well. I relate to the character, as I sometimes wish I was born in a different time (though I dream of Regency days rather than the '20's). This beautifully-shot film reminds me not to get too enthralled with the past, while simultaneously satisfying my dreamy, romantic imagination. A movie every romantic should see!



  1. Now when I read Hemingway and Fitzgerald, I imagine these actors saying the words in my head. They both were just so perfectly cast. And the whole movie is awesome -- I can't wait to see it again. Just a sweet, rambly movie with a great message about contentment.

    1. They were great!! I really liked Zelda, too. It's a nice little gem of a movie. I don't think I ever do justice to the movies I attempt to review! =P

  2. Didn't love this one, Lizzie. Glad you enjoyed it though! It is a pretty, artistic movie. :)