Sunday, July 3, 2011

Midnight in Paris

I used to have a rule about Woody Allen movies. It was "Don't go see them." The rule was instituted while watching Deconstructing Harry in 1997, and it took years for me to go see another one. Several more years passed before I actually enjoyed one. Midnight in Paris more than makes up for all the Woody Allen dogs I've sat through over the years.

Owen Wilson plays a writer who doesn't realize he's going through a mid-life crisis. He's engaged to a woman of extremely limited vision, played to a T by Rachel McAdams. Her parents, extremely wealthy but infinitely declasse, have dragged the couple to Paris. He goes for a walk one night and - avoiding spoilers - stumbles into what can only be described as an adult Narnia. As his relationship whithers, his horizons expand.

Midnight in Paris could have been sponsored by the Paris Tourism Bureau, as the city is photographed in the best possible light and looks just gorgeous. There were many literary and cultural references that went over my head, but I caught enough to enjoy. I especially liked a scene where the writer, fiance and some friends are discussing something trivial, like wine or whatever, and when the camera pans around, you see they are standing in the front lawn of Versailles like it was the most ordinary place in the world.

Midnight in Paris is the antidote to the plethora of brainless movies we've seen lately. It is the best movie of the year, so far, for the thinking person.


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