Review: Midnight In Paris

I consciously stayed away from any information about Midnight In Paris, only knowing that it was a Woody Allen film that starred Owen Wilson. I was half expecting a shoddy romantic comedy but after seeing it my perceptions were flipped, I was hugely impressed by Midnight In Paris' originality and in my opinion it has a slight edge over Allen's previous film this year, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger.

Set in Paris (obviously), the film follows Hollywood screenwriter/budding novelist, Gil (Owen Wilson) and his fiancé, Inez (Rachel McAdams) vacationing whilst Inez's parents are there for a business deal. Gil, begins to wander the Paris streets at night for inspiration and finds that Paris becomes a hugely different place after midnight.   

Allen has written a fantastic script, chock full of hugely clever literary and culture references. It manages to be touching and amusing at the same time, which is fairly rare for a film these days. Allen makes the most of the stunning Paris locations and the era of 1920's Paris is hugely convincing and visually magnificent.  I'm not going to spoil why you'd be seeing 1920's Paris as it's far more entertaining going in expecting the unexpected. The soundtrack is typical Allen featuring a fusion of Cole Porter tracks, which really adds to the charm and romanticism of 1920s Paris, as well as reassuring us we're in the safe bosom of Woody Allen.

I was originally fairly sceptical about Owen Wilson's casting, not being a massive fan of him but my preconceptions were completely forgotten as the film began. The role of Gil is undoubtebly one that Allen would have played had Midnight in Paris been made in the 1970/80s and we see some of the traditional neuroticism Allen's performances are remembered for through Gil. He's a hopeless romantic, in love with the nostalgia and charm of Paris and it's golden years - Wilson is completely likeable and convincing and leads the film charmingly. There's also wonderful supporting turns from stars as diverse as Michael Sheen (who literally chews through the scenery, providing many laughs), Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Rachel McAdams and Adrian Brody. 

Midnight In Paris is an utterly charming and witty cinematic experience from one of the world's finest filmmakers. Superb writing, Allen's direction and some magnificent performances help make the film one of the finest of the year.

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