Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by:Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody
Released: October 20, 2011
Grade: A-

Whilst many could validly argue that Woody Allen’s best days are behind him, the success of Midnight In Paris shows that there’s life in this 75-year-old filmmaker.  It’s become his highest grossing film at the U.S. box-office with a total of $55m.  That’s more than his last 5 movies combined!  I realise the statistics would look a lot different if you adjusted for inflation (1977’s Annie Hall would have close to $143m) but it’s still a noteworthy achievement.

Just as amazing is the fact that Midnight In Paris contains such a simple story.  There’s not much to it at all.  Gil (Wilson) and Inez (McAdams) have travelled to the “City of Light” for a quick vacation before they get married.

You’ll quickly get a sense that they’re not right for each other.  This is best illustrated in an early scene where they run into another couple who are visiting Paris.  Inez wants to accept their invite and hit the town for a night of drinking and dancing.  Gil isn’t quite as social.  His plans for the evening are to take a romantic stroll and check out some of the landmarks.

The two decide to make the best of the situation.  Inez goes partying with the couple, Gil goes walking on his own and they’ll see each other when they both get home.

There’s a key twist to this tale however.  Gil’s stroll through Paris’s beautiful streets takes him to a rather unexpected location.  That’s about all I’m willing to reveal since the trailer does a wonderful job keeping it hidden from the audience.  I will throw in a few adjectives though – delightful, enthralling and magical.  Hopefully they’re strong enough to tweak your own interest.

Woody Allen’s movies are synonymous for having a nerdy, insecure guy in the leading role (often played by Allen himself).  That’s again the case here but Owen Wilson (Hall Pass, Wedding Crashers) demonstrates these traits in a subtler manner (suiting the film’s tone).  He turns out to be a perfect casting choice and is well supported by a great group of actors including Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard and Michael Sheen.

All of that said, it’s the writing that I love most about Woody Allen films.  He has a gift for creating witty, intelligent dialogue and capturing the intricacies of the complex human condition.  He’s done it again with Midnight In Paris and the film finishes a thought-provoking observation.  If you don’t leave the cinema with a smile on your face, I’ll be very, very surprised.