Title: Midnight in Paris
Language: English, French, Spanish
Country: Spain, USA
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Cinematography: Darius Khondji
Adrien de Van
Marcial Di Fonzo Bo
Vincent Menjou Cortes
Never a plenary devotee of Woody Allen’s corpus and having many missing pieces in his ultra-prolific filmography, I skipped his last two features YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER (2010) and WHATEVER WORKS (2009) after a delightfully absorbing VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (2008)
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS has been hyped to be a new pinnacle of Allen’s late career (a career peak in the North American box-office too) since its release, maybe even nourish a slight chance for a BEST PICTURE Oscar nomination, which has been long overdue for any Woody’s pictures since HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986), but after my viewing, I find it not so rosy on its Oscar path, I presume the sole possible chance is still Allen’s strong suit, the screenplay and that will be all!
I like the film by and large and I find the back-from-the-future plot is intriguing at first, then after the unorthodox Cinderella-esque midnight wander becomes the the inscrutable linchpin, the arrest deflates bit by bit while an intense concussion of bathos becomes presiding. Clearly the film is a love-letter (maybe a love-postcard) to Paris from Allen (strangely there is no French funds for the film, which is indeed a Spain-USA concoction), maybe I have no such approbation for Paris (a city doesn’t tempt me for a must-see visit), so I feel neutrally immune to the cameos from those prominent artists of1920s (the only memorable presence is none other than Corey Stoll’s chivalrous Hemingway, who manages to exude a few wisdom from his sidelined character, his remark about a true hero’s not-afraid-of-death-status is biased but contains Woody Allen’s own sullen wit). Basically speaking, there is no single performance is outstanding like Woody’s previous works (notable for its notorious hotbed for BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS nominations), but female characters’ overpowering poise is always there, my personal penchant leans to Rachel McAdams’ stereotypical mean woman caricature, repelling enough so as to that I adore her more, not the character but the acting per se. Marion Cotillard is being squandered drastically, but it will not hurt her charisma; other numerous secondary characters are all nothing but linear.
The film proposes a contentious subject matter, a nostalgia addiction of the Golden Age, but in my opinion, why don’t we just treasure art itself without encountering the artists (or asking yourself before make the move, “am I sure I can handle a true artist?), but if you are aiming for a sizable discount, it would be a different cup of tea then.