Friday, January 6, 2012


I will state from the outset that I'm a big Woody Allen fan. I haven't seen all of his movies, or even a majority of them, but I still connect with them for some reason. Maybe it's the uneasiness with which he (or his "characters") seem to move through life. Or maybe it's the obscure references he's constantly making throughout his films that I find amusing, and even a little educational (I usually am looking them up throughout the movie).
I saw Midnight in Paris last night and I found the movie to be a refreshingly non-Woody Allen Woody Allen movie. It wasn't that the typical Woody Allen movie elements weren't there - they were. The archetypal setting, the city worship, the complex one-dimensional characters (not impossible?), and of course the beautiful women.
The movie starts with about three minutes of shots from around the city of Paris, letting us all know the setting. It's a classic Woody Allen tool to denote his love of the city, and indicate to the audience exactly where we're at.
The only issue I had with the movie was that I felt Owen Wilson was miscast. I don't think he did a bad job; in fact, I think he did a very good job. The problem is that his persona and personality are not right for the part of the character (basically Woody Allen). He's too laid back, too funny, too cheery. Woody's characters are dry, nebbish, neurotic and misanthropic. It just doesn't fit. There are elements of the character that Owen Wilson seems to be well suited, but overall I don't think he delivers the Woody Allen neurosis. But I don't blame him; again, I think he was miscast.
The nice thing about this movie is that while the plot is fairly simple; it explores very realistic emotions that we all feel within ourselves about our place in the world, as well as our place in our relationships. There were moments in the movie when I was frustrated that the Wilson's character did not realize certain things that were happening, because I could imagine myself in the very same situation, and HAVE realized what was happening, and therefore been very upset. But it also delves into the surrealistic world of anachronism and nostalgia, and let's not only the main character, but other characters in the film as well, explore their world beyond the scope of their place and time. This makes the movie fun and quirky, but in the end also let's us in on the point of the entire film.
Recommendation: See the movie. You don't have to be a Woody Allen buff to like it, but even if you are you'll still enjoy elements of the movie that are quintessentially Woody Allen, albeit somewhat muted.

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