This may be surprising, but this is the first Woody Allen movie that I have ever watched. I'm sure I've missed out on some really interesting films over the years, but none of them have really looked very appealing to me. "Midnight in Paris" may not have been the best starting point to enter in to Mr. Allen's universe, but this is where my journey begins.
From the beginning of the movie, you see a truly artistic sensibility that places the characters right in to a world largely shaped by history and culture. For those that "get it", for lack of a better term, the story will transport you through places and times and will have you seeing things that may be wondrous to behold.
To everyone else, it may just seem rather indulgent and a little bit confusing as to what is going on and why it is all happening.
"Midnight in Paris" is the story of Gil (Owen Wilson), a writer and hopeless romantic that seems to be lost in a search for inspiration and purpose while his beautiful fiance Inez (Rachel McAdams) is going full steam ahead with their wedding plans. While on a trip to Paris, the two find themselves being pulled in different directions and, during a night of escapist drinking, Gil is swept in to what may or may not be a proverbial journey through time within the streets of Paris.
One thing I was really looking forward to when I sat down to watch this movie was some really good acting performances by the lead characters. I had heard amazing things about Owen Wilson finally finding a role that doesn't confine him to what has become his stereo typically dazed and confused characters.
I had also heard that Marion Cotillard would dazzle under the lights of Paris and Rachel McAdams would bring a fire to her role and both would present an equal challenge for Wilson's Gil.
What I ended up seeing from all three was what felt like a walk-through performance that didn't bring any real depth to characters that are supposed to all be passionately tormented in their own unique ways. Wilson was about as blah as I have ever seen him although still inexplicably likable as he somehow always manages to be. I just never felt drawn in to the emotions and drama that Gil was supposedly going through which is a key ingredient to the story's success.
Throughout the movie, there are some really nice performances by Kathy Bates, Corey Stoll, and Tom Hiddleston, but their characters were too minor to have any major impact on the story. By the end, I was left feeling like I didn't care about what was happening to any of the characters, or that anything of interest was happening at all.
Maybe I am just not meant to enjoy Woody Allen's films, or maybe it was just this particular movie. Either way, "Midnight in Paris" just seemed like a story that was too long and drawn out with nothing really to say.
From what I understand, a lot of this story is based on Allen's old stand up comedy routines although I'm thinking that, just like some of characters in this movie, they should have been left it in the past.