Midnight in Paris

Time travel is just that easy. Turn your back, turn back, and then you find a laundromat.

Magnifique, Bellissimo, Perfect! Our neighbors gave us the four home-grown tomatoes that are pictured above, I give the movie five. Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” is his best movie in years. I should clear up any confusion about the tomatoes. Anne read the first sentence and said, “Aren’t tomatoes what you throw when you don’t like something?” I am alluding to the movie review website, Rotten Tomatoes. On this website, movies that are well received get a ripe red tomato and movies that are not, get a squashed green one. Checking the website, “Midnight in Paris” has a ripe red tomato like the ones pictured above.

The movie stars Owen Wilson, who I last saw in “The Wedding Crashers”. In this movie he plays a Hollywood hack, turned struggling novelist, on his way to hopeless romantic. He is engaged to be married. He and his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) fly to Paris for the weekend. He loves Paris, because it is nostalgic, especially in the rain. She loves Malibu, because it is modern and seldom rains. They are heading towards a marriage from divorce lawyer’s hell. The movie sports a large supporting cast, studded with recent Oscar winners and the French first lady. Was that Carla Bruni?

Every night Mr. Allen transports Wilson’s character, Gil, back to the Paris of the 1920s. There he meets the likes of Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, Picasso and many more notable cultural figures that resided in Paris then. I found this cast from the past to be the true delight of the movie. By day, he is dragged from one tourist destination to the next. His fiancée bumps into an old flame, and he acts the insufferable pedant, as the self-appointed tour guide, even bullying Mme. Sarkozy’s character (who plays a real tour guide), even at her own museum. After each day, Gil and the audience is left anxiously awaiting the first stroke of midnight.

Gil’s novel involves a curio shop, a shop that sells trinkets from the past. Nostalgia paints the past, not as it was, but as we wish it was. It is better to live with the past, but in the present. Doing so, opens up the most surprising opportunities for the future. “Midnight in Paris” is new on DVD this week. I highly recommend that you buy it or rent it and watch it, because if you don’t, I’ll have Earnest Hemingway come break your nose.

Leave a Reply