Poster for "Midnight in Paris" (2011). (Photo retrieved from IMDb)

Golden Age Thinking Provides Golden Film

Woody Allen made an instant classic with his 2011 film “Midnight in Paris.” From the theme of golden age thinking to the extremely witty writing, everything in this movie is fantastic. 

In the film, engaged couple Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) travel to Paris, where Gil magically finds himself in his favorite time period — the 1920s. Gil meets multiple famous people, such as Zelda (Alison Pill) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates). While in the 1920s, Gil falls in love with Adriana (Marion Cotillard), which helps him realize how bad his relationship is with Inez. 

Some of the best parts of this movie are Gil interacting with Paul (Michael Sheen), a friend of Inez. Paul acts as if he knows everything about French culture by interrupting tour guides or having his wife constantly say he is an expert on something. Gil always responds perfectly when disagreeing with Paul, providing great humor.

For example, when they are at the Rodin Museum, they are observing The Thinker when Paul starts arguing with the tour guide about whether Camille, the inspiration for most of Rodin’s work, was his wife or mistress. Gil joins the conversation by saying that he recently read a two-volume biography of Rodin and that Camille was the mistress, agreeing with the guide. A few moments later, Inez asks him when he read that, and he responds, “Why would I read a two-volume biography on Rodin?”

 Wilson portrays his character and recites his lines perfectly.

Another great thing about this film is the production design, especially when Gil goes back in time. Everything feels like you went back 100 years. The amount of detail in the sets really sets this movie apart.

I recommend this movie to anyone, but if you’re a rom-com type of person, don’t be deterred because it involves time travel. There is no discussion of how it works or science fiction stuff like time machines or portals. Gil just sits at the same spot at midnight, an old car shows up, and he’s in the 1920s. 

The actors portray the characters perfectly. Watching this movie, you’re convinced that this is what these people were like. There’s never a moment when you think a line could have been said better.

The big question of whether golden age thinking is good or bad elevates this movie from good to excellent. Late in the movie, Gil and Adriana travel to the 1890s, and Adriana says this would be her favorite decade to live in. This causes Gil to realize that if he stays in the 1920s, he will start to think that it would be better to be in the 1890s and the pattern would continue, leaving him unsatisfied because every time period has its problems. The present is the only time when people can progress and achieve their potential. For most of his life, Gil didn’t want to live in the present, but this revelation changed his outlook.

The movie’s only flaw is that it ends. I wanted it to go on forever.

Overall, “Midnight in Paris” is perfect. No matter what genre of movies you like, you need to watch this film immediately.

★★★★★