“A Beautifully Restless Look at the Human Condition” 10/10
Midnight in Paris tells a beautiful story of restlessness and creativity in life, through the eyes of writer Gil (Owen Wilson) – Bored of current life, Gil finds himself captured by nostalgia on a trip to Paris with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her family – and every night at midnight he finds himself strangely visiting 1920’s Paris.
Set against the romantic backdrop of Paris, the film is visually stunning: Paris itself is a wonder both on screen and in real life and the film manages to capture its natural beauty perfectly without being too cliché. The clash between modern day France and the 20’s setting that Gil visits is wonderful and has a real atmosphere of opportunity and promise, the very things that draw him into the midnight “world” in the first place. Wilson is charming as the lost writer, a refreshing and pensive difference from McAdam’s character who jars against his creative nature, drawing a deeper void between their relationship as their time in Paris progresses. Contrast is used to perfection in this in every way. Wilson’s character meets many literary greats on his midnight journey who help him write his first novel: anyone who’s familiar with the works of writers such as F.Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) will enjoy the many literary references throughout their conversations with Gil.
What really drew me in was the story and its raw examination of the human condition, which in itself is a fascinating topic. It looks at those things that are inherent in each and every person: in this context, curiosity, restlessness, and desire. It doesn’t try to sugar-coat it – Gil is unhappy with life and he doesn’t make any attempt to prevent himself from going in search of a new one (albeit in the past). That’s what makes this film so enjoyable, the relatability of the desire for something better – “the grass is always greener” – and the restlessness that we feel when we’re searching for that something better.
Midnight in Paris is beautiful: the story is captivating and keeps you thinking long after it’s finished. Few films manage such an honest look at the restless nature of humans, let alone done in such an intriguing style as this. Prepare to have your curiosity captured by creativity and the promise of opportunity: it may just make you feel like a midnight stroll.