I saw all nine best picture nominated films before the Oscars. There is an event every year that is hosted by the AMC theaters called the AMC Best Picture Showcase. During the event, which usually spans two Saturdays, all the best picture nominees are shown. One of the movies that I got to see was Midnight in Paris. This was one of the most enjoyable movies that I saw and one of two movies I would purchase for my personal collection (the other movie I would buy would be The Help). Midnight in Paris was nominated for four Oscars including best picture and won one Oscar for best original screenplay.
Gil is a successful screenplay writer. He is wealthy, and very popular in Hollywood. He also has a beautiful fiancée, Inez. However, he feels like something is missing in his life. Gil and his fiancée go to Paris on a vacation with her parents (her father is there on some kind of business). Gil is having a good time in Paris. It is one of his favorite cities. He would like to move to Paris, and write a real novel. Inez wants him to do no such thing. She wants him to go back to Hollywood, and continue to write screenplays. She doesn’t see the romantic side of moving to Paris, and being a starving true artist. She wants Gil to continue to make lots of money in Hollywood so she can spend it. While Inez and Gil and playing tourist in Paris, they happen to run into some of Inez’s friends, Paul and Carol. Paul is a professed know-it-all even correcting the tour guides at famous sites. Carol and Inez eat up every word he says and this grates on Gil. After spending a long day with Inez’s friends, Gil is made to go to a wine tasting. When the wine tasting is over, Gil wants nothing more than to go back to the hotel with Inez. However, she has other plans. She wants to go dancing with her friends. So drunk and alone, Gil heads back to the hotel, but he gets lost. He ends up sitting on some steps in the city at midnight when a car out of the 1920s pulls up. There are some partygoers in the car, and they encourage him to get in, and so he does. They take him to a party where he meets the Fitzgeralds, as in Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby. Gil has somehow been transported back into 1920’s France with all the literary and artistic greats like Cole Porter, Hemingway, and Picasso. He spends several nights in 1920s and gets inspiration for his new novel. All the while, Inez is spending an inordinate amount of time with her friends. With an imperfect life waiting for him in the future, Gil must decide whether or not to stay in the romantic 1920s or to go back and make a life in his decade. What will happen to Gil, and whom all does he meet? You will have to watch the movie to find out.
This movie has lots of positives. It has beautiful shots of Paris. It has some great costumes. It also has a great script. There are some really funny moments provided by the script, and Owen Wilson’s smart delivery. I also thought the acting was well done.
Owen Wilson is the perfect choice for the character of Gil. He has a romantic wanderer look. He is believable as the guy who wants to move to Paris, and write a book. He is cute so you can believe that the women in the movie actually take to him. He has a great face for acting. You can see the surprise he has at meeting the people we can only read about, and you can see the respect he has for these artistic greats written all over his face. You fall in love with Gil throughout the movie and hope he gets his chance to be a writer. You will not like Inez who is played by Rachael McAdams. You can tell she doesn’t love Gil. She just loves his money and she is in no mood to indulge his romantic ideas. I really loved Corey Stoll who played Hemingway. Hemingway is very manly, very truthful, and kind of abrupt. Corey pulls it off very well. I wonder what it was like to play such a literary great. Kathy Bates plays Gertrude Stein and does a very nice job of it. Too bad we don’t see too much of Alice, who was Stein’s significant other. And sadly, we only get a moment with Picasso, Marcial Di Fonzo Bo. All in all the acting was well done by all the actors who played all the famous artists of the 1920s.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It was one of the most watchable best picture nominees. I loved Midnight in Paris because I would love the opportunity to meet all those literary greats from the 1920s. I cannot imagine meeting the literary greats whose works I have read and admired. What a fantastic idea, and a fantastic movie. If you love 1920s literature, music or art then you will love this film.