Monday, June 27, 2011

A Magical Midnight

What a better gift for my birthday than to be transported to the past to a magical era of art, beauty, design, and passion!  Midnight In Paris is a truly wonderful film that captures every essence of Paris.  Through an introductory montage of Paris streets, monuments, cafes, buildings, and inhabitants, I really felt that I was transported to the Capital of Modernity.  What follows is a Woody Allen tale of lost love, comedy, and culture with a pinch of sarcastic salt and pessimistic pepper. 

Gil (Owen Wilson) embarks on a vacation with his fiance Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her ritzy parents to Paris.  One night he finds himself walking alone back to his hotel buzzed and at the stroke of midnight, is swept back into the 1920s where he meets F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway all on the same night!  The line between past and present is paper thin and thankfully Allen addresses this issue delicately and not like an episode of Lost where time travel is a staple to understanding the plot. Of course his family considers him crazy but he continues to push through Paris, searching for the missing piece for his novel  in progress.  On his journey, he meets Gertrude Stein who helps him on his novel, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter, Juan Belmonte, T.S. Eliot, and finally Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.  With each new yet famous character that enters the frame, I glowed with more and more astonishment at how real the meeting seemed and how magnificent the meeting would be- if it were only possible...  It leaves you with hope in that not all creativity is lost in this world.
Gil as he contemplates imagination
and reality in Midnight in Paris.
In only 90 minutes, you learn that the true meaning of life is in the present, not the past. You hear about how the Golden Age (of any place) was the most magical time, but once Gil was transported back to the 1920s, the Parisians found it just as dull and unspectacular as we do our present; however grandly Gil was transfixed by the literary and artistic wonders he prays to so fondly.  In the end of the film we are unknowingly propelled further back into La Belle Époqueanother era of fine European culture that began in the late 19th Century. Here, our dazzling Mademoiselle Adriana, played by Marion Cotillard, finds herself in love with a time that preceeded her as well and it is only at this moment that our protagonist realizes that inspiration and imagination are not always reality.  The past has helped him clear his mind but without a present, he has no headquarters for his thoughts to reconvene.  This is why it is important not to wish for a different life of a different time with different aspirations, talents, or worries.  Live in the now and make the most of it. Travel the world and let it inspire your imagination.  Go make today the best yet by thinking about your dreams and not wasting any more time wishing your life away for any other.
Adriana and Gil walking the streets of Paris in the 1920s.
Woody, and Gil, find the rain sexy, revealing and calming, especially for a city as grand as Paris. So go. Walk through Paris in the rain. Without an umbrella. And experience the beauty that wins the audience over in Midnight In Paris.

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