Paris still draws us in
Article: Laura Billett – ContributorReleased in 2011, Midnight in Paris was a success, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, and the list goes on. Directed by Woody Allen, it is a beautiful, fanciful film set in Paris and is sure to sweep you away with its wit and charm.
Gil (Owen Wilson) is a Hollywood screen writer who has left the business to pursue his dream of writing a novel. He is visiting Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. Enthralled with the city, Gil takes leave of his over-bearing fiancée and in-laws to stroll the streets, looking for inspiration for his novel. While roaming the city at midnight, he finds himself transported through time to the 1920s: the era of his literary and artistic heroes. Gil finds himself talking with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali, and many others. He drinks and dances the nights away alongside these great artists, finding inspiration and solace in their company. They not only guide his work, but also help him find himself.
Through these midnight adventures in 1920s Paris, Gil realizes his true desires, and finds the strength to fight for them. Enraptured with the beauty and magic of the city, Gil embarks on a journey enviable by all who are lovers of art and secretly dream of an adventure such as his.
But, it is about more than dreams and aspirations. Midnight in Paris is about letting go of our envious longing for better times. Characters are constantly yearning for a previous era, believing it was surely the ‘Golden Age’ of Paris decades before their time. As Gil travels between the 21st and 20th centuries, he realizes no era is perfect. No matter what year you live in, you will always wish for, or idealize another time or place. We must learn to revel in the moments we have now, not let the beauty of the present become lost and drowned out by the romanticism of the past.
Paris is a magical city, and never ceases to bring a certain air of mystery and hope to any story. The romanticized setting certainly makes this film charming and loveable. Though I think it is almost impossible not to idealize ‘la vie bohème’, the film does an excellent job of putting value on the realities of the world. Gil has his own comical epiphany, appreciating the modern day when recalling a nightmare wherein he is unable to find antibiotics at the dentist’s office.
Midnight in Paris is an original, light-hearted film that manages to avoid being cheesy or predictable. The cast was surprising; Rachel McAdams did a great job of making us hate her, and Owen Wilson captured our hearts with his quirky, easy-going nature. It may be a few years old, but it is a great movie to keep in mind for those days where you need a bit light-hearted and fantastical inspiration.Image: keithandthemovies.com