Midnight in Paris
Written and directed by Woody Allen
Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams
Reviewed by Seth Rogovoy
After years of being the bard of Manhattan, Woody Allen has spent most of the past decade doing for Europe what he did for New York City earlier in his career. In his latest film, Midnight in Paris, Allen makes great use of the City of Love (in the same way he has previously captured the character of London and Barcelona) in a romantic comedy starring Owen Wilson as a kind of Woody Allen stand-in – a man out of time, drawn toward the Movable Feast era of American expatriate Paris populated by Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and Gertrude Stein – as a nostalgic escape from a caricature of a relationship with a modern American Tea Party-influenced family.
But Allen doesn’t let Wilson’s character off easily; rather, he goes to lengths to show that nostalgia is a kind of Russian doll set (as is the story itself, concerning a novelist writing about a central character who owns a “nostalgia shop”). The writing in this film is particularly top-notch Allen, tending more towards engaging real existential and philosophical questions rather than recycling the same stale clever quips of which he can sometimes be guilty.
Award-winning cultural critic Seth Rogovoy is editor-in-chief of the Rogovoy Report (www.rogovoyreport.com) and BerkshireDaily and the official film blogger for the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, Mass.