MIDNIGHT IN PARIS—Directed and Written by Woody Allen/Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kurt Fuller/rated PG-13/100 minutes
A Bifocal Review by Barbara and Gordon Richiusa
(G) I absolutely LOVED it! To me this was quintessential Woody Allen, in the same way that TETRO epitomized Coppola’s career (for me) and many believe The TEMPEST represents a culmination of Shakespeare’s playwriting…That’s William Shakespeare, or, as the self-possess pseudo intellectual character Paul, played by Michael Sheen in Midnight in Paris would call him…The Bard. This might seem like a needless aside to some of you (that’s a literary term that you’ll have to look up if you don’t understand it), but understanding that what is commonplace today was someone’s insightful observation in the past and, as Midnight In Paris points out: the people who are happiest are those who accept the “now” and make today their favorite time in history...that’s something that ALL of us can benefit from. In the same way, we see in this film that the line between genius and conceit lay pretty much in our ability to relate as an audience. In other words, we are all more apt to enjoy something that we can relate to on a personal level. Indeed, Midnight is Woody Allen’s finest film in years in that HE is relating to the characters and the storyline on every level. It just so happens that most of us can also relate, and that is the genius part.
Woody Allen is in every character (as usual) and his quirky way of thinking is in every line of dialogue, theme and idea without effort. Watching this film we know his likes and dislikes about himself and the world around him as each character and situation plays out like another note of another instrument of a symphony. In other words, it was well orchestrated. I loved it. I give it the highest rating I can give: Four Binoculars!
(B) Being a huge fan of nostalgia (you can take a look at an archived Bifocal Review when we visited Nostalgia-ville, USA: http://youtu.be/NHctHseSvqc) this film took me where I love to go…the past. I would have continued on this journey to more eras gone by if I could, but of course time would not permit. I found myself in awe just as much as Owen Wilson’s character as he spent his midnight escapades with heroes of the past, even though I knew it was just a movie. Marion Cotillard was so convincing in her role (as usual) and of course, Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein, could do no harm in my eyes. This film was brilliantly cast and everyone did an excellent job. I loved the music, which was lilting and set the mood perfectly. I was glad to see a Woody Allen film that wasn’t silly, but rather wonderful and amusing. The scenery is Paris, Paris by day, Paris at night, Paris dry and Paris in the rain, Paris in the present and Paris in various bygone eras. Woody Allen makes a point of juxtaposing opinions and perspectives about the city and the level of romanticism that it seems to stir in people. Kudos to you Woody. I'm not as literary as Gordon, but I still give this one a THREE.