Steen: Same old from Woody

Midnight In Paris

To be honest, I have never been a big fan of Woody Allen—in my opinion, the last interesting thing he did was Hannah and Her Sisters.

However, I thought it would be a good idea to get out of my very comfortable comfort zone and so I went to see Midnight In Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen.

Not many shared my adventurous spirit, as there were only 14 of us in the theatre on the Sunday night.

While I can’t think who, or why Owen Wilson was cast as the lead, and while it wasn’t pretty to watch Canadian Rachael McAdams play the stereotypical “American in Paris,” this movie was surprisingly watchable.

Also surprising was the rest of the cast which included Carla Bruni, wife of French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in a small role as a tour guide, and Kathy Bates playing Gertrude Stein.

It was also great to see Mimi Kennedy, who I haven’t seen since the old Sid Caesar shows (am I dating myself here?), and she doesn’t at all look as though she’s 63 years old.

It’s hard to explain the rest of the cast and their roles without giving much of the movie away. Suffice to say, it’s somewhat like the old game of what five people would you invite to dinner?  I said somewhat, but it’s a stretch—a little like Owen Wilson’s acting. I know, I will stop harping about that, but truly it wasn’t good!

In typical Allen style, Midnight In Paris was somewhat like watching a play on a very large stage instead of a movie on the big screen. Unlike a lot of Allen’s work, it wasn’t just scene after scene of nothing to do with the core of the show, it did have a message that romance has been here throughout the ages, and sometimes, just sometimes, it can transcend time itself.

Maybe because I had spent Saturday at a wedding that I was feeling nostalgic myself, but despite the mismatch of casting and the stilted acting of McAdams (yes, I will stop harping on this, too), and even though this movie does not provide any ‘tears rolling down your cheeks’ laughs, it does have a “je ne sais quoi” about it that’s worth seeing.

Another plus—it’s only an hour and 45 minutes, so it’s not a big investment of time either.

This is quirky, endearing and packed with historical glimpses.  If you like fantasies about times past, you’ll love it.

Best quote of the movie: “Nostalgia is denial.”

I give this movie  2 reels—but it’s worth seeing

Susan Steen is a local non-profit executive and movie buff.




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