Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is a monstrosity, proof that even a comic genius who also happens to be the Jane Austen of his age (to the extent that he is a great documenter of manners and morals) can still miss the mark. If we were to see the film with no knowledge of Allen’s oeuvre, we might summarily dismiss it as the work of an inferior artist. Could the meta-view of Paris that Allen presents be intentionally ugly and factitious in order to render a world someone might want to escape from? Gil (Owen Wilson) posits escape as a kind of brass ring when he says “the present is a little unsatisfying because life is a little unsatisfying.” He later quotes Faulkner’s “the past is not dead; it’s not even past.” But the intention of Allen's directorial disquisition is never clear. Parenthetically, Wilson is as unsuccessful in playing the Woody-Allen-type doofus as Allen is in portraying Paris. It is unlikely that F. Scott, Zelda, Ernest, Salvador, Gertrude or any of the Lost Generation would have been terribly pleasant company, despite their bouts of genius, but the film’s heavy-handed plot line, which transports our protagonist back in time, from the dreary materialism of the present to the Paris of the ‘20s and eventually La Belle Epoque, where he interrupts Toulouse-Lautrec while he’s drawing the Folies and makes the acquaintance of Degas and Gauguin, presents us with a series of gargoyles that would be booed off of a high-school stage. The movie starts with a Paris montage that aspires to Hemingway’s moveable feast, but instead of creative sumptuousness, it has the gastronomic and esthetic appeal of Leonard's, the garish Great Neck bar mitzvah parlor. It's a sequence that would have made Cartier-Bresson vomit.


  1. Are you serious? I LOVED the movie!

  2. Ok put up your dukes boat a you's. We know "no" is a sentence, but what is huh? An expression of incredulity? As for anonymous #2, it's nice you loved the movie, but that is no defense. Love is a sentiment. Those who don't feel the same way need cud to chew on.


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