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Sunday 23 Jun 2024

Midnight in Paris
Jennifer Ramirez

“Midnight in Paris,” directed by Woody Allen, a most talented and top class moviemaker, has perfect ability to present world popular movies ever. In New York City, he created his most popular hits before. This time, also, Allen offers a superb movie that’s also a hit.

‘Midnight in Paris’ is a love letter to a city and, like ‘Manhattan’, opens with an adoring montage, set to jazz, of the city by day and night. As in so many of Allen’s films, our troubled hero is Gil (Wilson) is on holiday in Paris with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her overbearing parents.

That's certainly the attitude of Gil, a successful Hollywood screenwriter who is an effusive enthusiast for the City of Light in general, and the 1920s golden age of Fitzgerald-Hemingway Paris in particular. So much so that Gil dreams of turning his back on all that studio money and writing novels on the Left Bank.

Gil's fiancée, Inez, doesn't like the sound of that. She and Gil are in Paris accompanying her wealthy parents on a business trip and she doesn't even want to think about anything that would diminish Gil's income.

Gil's raptures are put on hold when he and Inez bump into Inez's friend Paul (Michael Sheen) and his wife. A professor whom Inez once had a crush on, Paul is in Paris to lecture at the Sorbonne. It's soon clear he's an insufferable bore so pedantic he gets into an argument with a guide at the Rodin Museum.

One night as Gil is out for a midnight stroll, an extended vintage motor carriage comes by and picks him up. This is his magical ride to the Paris of yore, the Paris he's been pining for, the Paris he's been utterly romanticizing. All the luminaries are there. He takes this trip each night, developing relationships with them, and realizing their own human neuroses. Pablo Picasso, the uncertain lover. Ernest Hemingway, the unblinking blowhard. Gertrude Stein, enduring mother hen. And the surrealists - Dali, Bunuel, and Man Ray - striving ridiculously to live life in the non sequitur. This abrupt humanization of these icons of the art and literature is as amusing to Gil as it is to us. The electricity of the time is felt as he makes not just priceless connections and contacts, but friendships.

Paris of the 1920s and '30s became a mecca for creatives, eccentrics and individuals of all callings.

"Midnight in Paris" has been most compared to Allen's 1986 classic "The Purple Rose of Cairo,” an apt comparison if not a perfect one. The melancholy comedic tone fused with the protagonist's longing to escape to a more lush, romantic time form the greatest common bonds, although both films also stand close in terms of overall quality.

Woody Allen has no illusions about our feelings for history and culture. He knows the power they have over imagination and how that works out in our relationships in reality. That is the brilliance of this film and why it moves from point A to point B and back again. It is a critique on legitimate impulses and on the way we use and abuse them.

Jennifer Ramirez, known as Jenny, has reviewed and edited for 5+ years. Originally from Toronto, she grew up performing and competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Jenny enjoys reviewing movies, books and music albums. She describes herself as funny and righteous, with a 'go that extra mile' attitude. Her philosophy is quite simple: try to live life to the fullest Jenny writes that hr passion is books. She reads and reviews current and back-list literary fiction, crime fiction, thrillers, occasionally science fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She also loves music. She's a huge fan of The Maine and All Time Low! Joy is her favorite word and creativity is something she can't live without.

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