I must admit that Woody Allen movies are not usually my thing although I have seen the classics (Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Sleeper, Bullets over Broadway, Manhattan) and more recently viewed Match Point on Netflix but have never gotten around to seeing his latest triumph, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. However, lots of people recommended this summer's sleeper hit, Woody's Midnight in Paris, which like most of his films has a stellar cast. This time that cast include Oscar-winners Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates and Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Oscar-nominee Michael Sheen (The Queen, Frost vs. Nixon) has an amusing role.
The movie is centered around an interesting question: Would you rather have been born in a different historical era? The question stems from a character who is unhappy with his life and thus wonders whether life was better in the past. The movie explores Paris in the 1930s when famous figures like Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzegerald, Salvador Dali and many others were all contemporaries.
The film is somewhat diverting but suffers from the historical equivalent of a movie shot in numerous picturesque locations without a compelling plot to maintain the attention of the audience. In other words it seems like something of a "travelogue" with various famous historical figures breezing in and out of the frame without the audience becoming fully engaged in the characters' dilemmas.
That being said, Midnight in Paris is a film which you will think about more than very many of the other entertainments served up by Hollywood (Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, just to name a few) which have an evanescent presence in one's memory almost immediately after leaving the theater.
Director: Woody Allen.
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual references and smoking.
Release Date: June 10, 2011.
Viewing Date: August 27, 2011.
Overall Grade: (3.416/4.0).