Woody, Wilson and Whimsy
Midnight in Paris is yet another Woody Allen film that attempts to portray a city as its own character. The film aims to take us out of our mundane everyday lives and transports us back to a golden age of romance and creativity in 1920s Paris. Allen presents caricatures of numerous American and European artistic and literary icons of the era.
It cannot be denied, Allen secured a tip-top cast. The acting throughout was thoroughly convincing; you could have been watching it happen in real life. I will admit though, before going into the film, I was worried about his lead actor. Owen Wilson has only ever been a DVD man in my life so far. I’ve never really had the inclination to see any of his films on their initial release in a cinema. No, not even with the added allure of a cute dog in Marley and Me. However, in Midnight in Paris he gives his puppy dog friend a run for his money in the adorability stakes. He’s not soppy or sickening, just hopelessly romantic in a Ryan-Gosling-in-The-Notebook way. He does an excellent job of steering the film throughout a storyline that quickly became tiresome, losing its sense of originality.
The central characters were left frustratingly undeveloped and no amount of good acting could rescue it, which was a massive shame. The script was severely lacking in depth, the dialogue was either really uninspiring or was heavily repeated. Overkill and too much stereotyping in the script really made this film lose its creative zest. Some of the scenes seemed to go around in circles and dwelt upon the main themes too much. The point of the film was made very clear to the audience, but was then needlessly reinforced by a boring stretch of dialogue between Wilson and Marion Cotillard. It left you thinking ‘alright alright, I get it’.
Despite its flaws, this film was enjoyable to watch, mostly due to the whimsical style that means it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Visually and musically Midnight in Paris was enchanting. It just needed to be longer so that the repetitions and inconsistencies had more of a chance to be straightened out.