Film Discussion: Midnight in Paris (Paris, France)

Cinema Stats

  • Year: 2011
  • Director & Writer: Woody Allen
  • Genre: comedy, fantasy, romance
  • Rating: PG 13; some sexual references and historical smoking
  • Length: 1 hour 34 minutes
  • Stars: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates

Cher’s Ratings

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Film Discussion

Paris. Just mentioning the name of this city is alluring and enticing! Midnight in Paris is a film that captures this allure and enticement, both past and present. This modern romantic comedy, infused with fantasy, has the usual fare of romance with some sexual references but not a major focus.

For lovers of art, literature, and travel, it is a treasure trove! Every time I watch it, I see something I missed the times before!

The Plot. . .

The plot is based on a young engaged couple, Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams), who tag-along on her parents’ business trip to Paris. A successful Hollywood writer, Gil is struggling on his first novel. He quickly falls deeply in love with the city and wants to move there after they get married; Inez is totally against the idea. The romantic notions of the city and its golden age of the 1920s enthrall Gil; not Inez.

One evening, Inez goes dancing with friends while Gil takes a midnight walk alone, a journey that totally transforms not only his writing, but his whole life – personally and professionally.

For the traveler…

For the prospective traveler to the city, the film is a feast for all-things-Paris. From the opening cameo shots of iconic sites such as the Eiffel Tower, Moulin-Rouge, Notre Dame (before the fire), Sacre Coure, the Louvre, Opera House, Luxembourg Gardens, Monet’s Giverny–to midnight walks in the rain over one of Paris’ famous bridges, the city comes alive.

Every corner is an art form. . .

To quote Hemingway in the movie, the city is a “movable feast.” The film also captures the lure of the city and provides a foundation for the enchantment of the unsuspecting visitor!

As Gil notes, “every corner of every street, is an art form.”

For lovers of literature. . .

For the lovers of literature, there is a shot of the infamous bookstore Shakespeare & Company . One gets a glimpse of the pivotal times and writers of the early 20th century such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, t. s. elliot, and Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates).

We are introduced to the life and philosophy of ex-patriots living in Paris during the 1920s. These individuals (mostly artists and writers) had withdrawn themselves from residence or allegiance to their native country, in this case, America. These individuals and their stories are masterfully woven into the film’s plot.

In this scene of Gil with Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) we see Picasso’s portrait of her on the wall.

For lovers of art. . .

For lovers of art, one enters the ground-breaking eras and the worlds of artists such as Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso in the Golden Age of the 1920s as well as impressionistic artists of the Belle Epoch of the 1880s: Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Gaughin, etc.

For me, a visit to the Rodin Museum gardens was particularly enjoyable with the scenes of the larger-than-life sculpture of Rodin’s The Thinker.

(See my blog for discussion on this infamous sculpture and sculptor).

In the end, for those who are lovers of Paris, or think they might want to be…this is a great movie. I have watched it multiple times and each time I pick up something fresh, some iconic site, or some new artist, writer, or musician in the scenes! And, when I once again get to visit Paris, I’ll have a renewed appreciation and excitement for it!

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