Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Film #5: Midnight in Paris

Disclaimer: I've seen this movie before.

The first time I saw "Midnight in Paris" I literally danced out of the movie theatre. The beautiful images of Paris and the emotive strains of Sidney Bechet's soprano saxophone on "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" flooded my mind as I left. The film contained everything I have always loved and many things I never would have discovered otherwise. I never would've gotten interested in jazz or the lost generation if it weren't for "Midnight in Paris." Cole Porter would have just been a familiar sounding name, and forget about the exquisite Bechet!

In spite of the excellent soundtrack and cinematography, Midnight is not without its flaws. Rachel McAdams' character Inez is written as a very conventional two-dimensional evil fiancée.There is little depth to Inez and that bothers me. Mainly its because you can never understand what Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson) ever saw in her.

I'm getting ahead of myself! The basic plot of "Midnight in Paris" is as follows: a newly engaged couple (Wilson and McAdams) and some family go to Paris. Everyone is uninterested in Paris and its beauty and history. Except the fiancé, a romantic minded screenwriter named Gil, who is currently on a novel. One night after a wine-tasting party, Gil walks back to the hotel by himself and is ushered into a twenties automobile. He finds himself at a party taking place in the glimmering literary scene of twenties Paris!

As I gushed earlier, the music and cinematography are excellent, but I didn't even mention the superb costumes. Honestly, they are the best I have ever seen for a film that is trying to do twenties clothing (some bad ones: "The Great Gatsby," "Ziegfeld Girl," "The Roaring 20s," any 40s does 20s movie). All of the shimmering beaded evening dresses and little bags are perfection. A particular favorite of mine was Marion Cotilliard's cream and coral nautical-inspired dress. Also all of the actors, especially Cory Stoll (Hemingway) and Adrien Brody (Dali) did spot on impersonations of their historical figures.

Paris has never been more beautiful or magical than when viewed through Woody Allen's lens. Although a lot of the initial movie magic has faded with repeated viewings, there is still some left, and how it shines!

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