Midnight in Paris Film (2011)

Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, Midnight in Paris film (2011) is a splendid homage to Paris. The plot is similar to The Kugelmass Episode, a short story written by Woody Allen in the 1970s.

The story: Hollywood scriptwriter-turned-novelist Gil Pender is on an unpleasant holiday in Paris with his fiancée Inez and her wealthy, arrogant parents. He loves Paris and dreams of living in La Ville Lumière after he and Inez are married. Partly to escape the scrutiny of his fiancée and her parents, he searches the streets of Paris for inspiration for his writing. One night while he and Inez are partying with some friends, Gil decides not to go dancing with the rest of the group and instead starts walking back to the hotel alone. At midnight, a vintage car stops and the passengers invite him to join them. Soon he discovers he’s in 1920s Paris where he meets a host of famous people.


  • Paris is beautifully photographed by cinematographer Darius Khondji
  • Owen Wilson is a pretty good stand in for Allen and it’s impossible not to like him
  • The storyline has a wonderful and unique twist
  • The film really captures the essence of Paris in the ’20s and the attention to detail is flawless
  • Rachel McAdams brings lots of energy to Inez and her constant belittling of Gil is fun to watch
  • Kurt Fuller and in particular Mimi Kennedy are impressive as Inez’s money-loving parents John and Helen
  • The movie examines the concept of “Golden Age Thinking” in an interesting way
  • Michael Sheen as Inez’s pompous ex-boyfriend Paul, steals every scene he’s in
  • The scene where Inez discovers her earrings are missing is very funny and the look on Gil’s face is priceless


  • There’s a jarring, over-abundance of famous characters and their scenes are not as funny as the modern day parts
  • Viewers who know little about early 20th century writers and artists may find it difficult to get the in-jokes
  • There’s no explanation given of how Gil is able to travel back in time and the risk that he might be changing the future is not addressed

Allen is famous for making quirky comedies, good romances and being a great writer in general but he can be very inconsistent. Sometimes he’ll make a great movie and other times the results are not so good but Midnight in Paris is his best movie in years.

Like Alice and The Purple Rose of Cairo, it has a supernatural theme running through it and one of the big messages of the film is told beautifully of how we shouldn’t long for the past but instead enjoy the present.

Owen Wilson is a joy to watch and even though you can practically hear Woody Allen’s recognizably neurotic voice come straight out of Wilson’s mouth, it still works very well.

The actors they cast for the nostalgic scenes really do capture the characters and they come across as larger than life. They have a real presence to them and are versions of what we would expect them to be.

Despite some minor failings, Midnight in Paris is quite genius in it’s premise. It has some good one-liners, it’s sentimental and charming and you’ll be utterly taken with it.

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