{2jtab: Movie Review}

Midnight in Paris - Movie Review


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5 Stars

The nostalgic themes and past perfect philosophy running through Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris are certainly familiar to his loyal devotees, but never before have they been presented so perfectly and so pleasantly. This is the non-abrasive Allen. Less intellectually weighted-down by his clever back-and-forth banter between differing philosophies and less neurotic than any Allen before (although, it is there), Midnight in Paris – while certainly not his best film – is the perfect film for wider audiences to enjoy…and to come to the realization that a Woody Allen film is not the devil reincarnate.  It is just the opposite in fact.  Midnight in Paris is a little slice of Heaven.

Making (more than) decent wages as a Hollywood hack screenwriter, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) finds himself disillusioned by his lot in life and, while on vacation with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her less-than-loving family (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy), discovers what the Lost Generation of writers discovered about Paris: it is best enjoyed at night and in the rain and the perfect place to write.  Gil has turned his talents from screenwriting and is working on his first book but, with little support from his friends and family, Gil finds himself stuck.  The gulf between Gil and Inez grows as a past crush/teacher/general know-it-all, Paul Bates (Michael Sheen), from her past shows up unannounced and invites the couple to tour the sites with him and his knowledge.  The perfect way to enjoy Paris…

Generally annoyed and playing aloof to his wife’s open flirtatious behavior toward the know-it-all she panders to, Gil walks the streets of Paris alone.  Drunk.  At night.  He soon discovers that he is, in fact, quite lost and doesn’t know how to get back to the hotel he is staying at.  Hailing an old-school taxi at midnight, Gil finds himself transported into the 1920’s where he – at first - parties with F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill) while Cole Porter plays the piano.  Soon enough, Hemingway (Corey Stoll) is reading his novel and Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) is giving him pointers on his work of “science fiction”.  Night after night, Gil is transported back to the Paris of the past and mingles with its artisans, writers, and philosophers and, during the day, he suffers through the family nonsense and bitchy behavior of Inez.  When a fetching young lady from the ‘20s - Adriana (Marion Cotillard) - catches his eye and his ‘the past is perfect’ spirit, Gil begins to understand the dilemmas his ‘present’ situation is causing him.

Yes, Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s love letter to Paris; a tip of the hat to the continual influence and thinkers of the 1920s.  With great and appropriate appearances from Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody), Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), filmmaker Luis Buñuel (Adrien de Van), and bullfighter Juan Belmonte (Daniel Lundh), Midnight in Paris might be hailed as a great little history lesson, too.  There are other great appearances throughout the film, making the surrealism of Midnight in Paris a truly great experience for the philosophy majors in the audience, too.

Opening with a brilliantly euphoric morning-to-night Parisian montage – set to Sidney Bechet’s “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere”– Midnight in Paris is pure Allen mojo at its finest.  The zippy one-liners are there and, present too, are the rich laughs that will leave a smile on the faces of audiences everywhere for days.  Yet, heart is the meaning of the matter here and Midnight in Paris presents its romantic lines – without the excess Hollywood cheese – with a clever and whimsical grin.  The misting in your eyes at the end of the film is the mark of a true artist’s work.  Impeccably filmed by cinematographer Darius Khondji, the City of Lights has never looked more beautiful (and so clean) on celluloid than right here.

Rich with visuals invoking the smoky spirit of nostalgia and magic, Allen focuses his film on the playful thought of reality verses imagination.  Or is it all magic?  It could be.  The seduction of this movie is that coy at times.  We don’t mind, though.  And with Owen Wilson giving one the best and most subdued performances of his career, Midnight in Paris is time well spent lost in the iridescent glow of dime store wistfulness.

Midnight in Paris, with its sweet and soulful taste, is proof that wine is not the only thing that gets better with age.  Sometimes artists do, too.


{2jtab: Film Details}

Midnight in Paris - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual references and smoking.
Director: Woody Allen
: Woody Allen
Owen Wilson; Rachel McAdams; Kurt Fuller; Mimi Kennedy; Michael Sheen; Nina Arianda; Carla Bruni
Genre: Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
Memorable Movie Quote: "You're in love with a fantasy."
Midnight in Paris.
Sony Pictures Classics
Official Site:
Release Date: June 3, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
December 20, 2011

Plot Synopsis: A family, including a young couple, travels to Paris, France for business and have their lives transformed.

{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Review}

Midnight in Paris Blu-ray

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 20, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live
Playback: Region A

While the color temperature is a bit warm due to the styling of lush photography, Sony’s 1080p transfer is consistently strong.  Fine detail is elementally detailed.  From clothing textures to facial surfaces, everything is radiantly flecked with this transfer.  As noted, facial tones are a little warm but never too distracting.  Shadows are strong and the location – ah, Paris – is incredible on HD.  The buildings and surrounding scenery are both well-preserved for HD enthusiasts.  The sound – presented here in an airy DTS-HD MA 3.0 lossless soundtrack – won’t test the structure of your home, but it is sufficient in providing Woody Allen’s jazz score the space to relax in.



  • None

Special Features:

With only a few features to round out its blu-ray debut, Midnight in Paris is a bit of a letdown.  There’s only one small featurette that showcases the films premiere at Cannes and while it is loaded with interviews from the cast and the crew, there’s little to sink one’s teeth into.  There is also a couple of photo galleries.  A trailer rounds out the release.

  • Midnight in Cannes (5 min)
  • Cast & Crew Photo Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}