Thursday, July 14, 2011

Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen yet again serves up a thought provoking, entertaining and brilliant film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Have you ever wondered if it would have been better to have been born in a previous era? Woody Allen helps us answer that question by having us time travel a bit through the experiences of a young writer attempting to publish his first work which has as its setting a memorabilia shop filled with things of bygone eras which interest him. In this era, however, he travels with his shallow fiancĂ© and her conservative condescending parents to Paris where the hero is smitten with its beauty and culture. What his fiancĂ© does not know is that at the stroke of midnight our protagonist is transported to another era -- the Roaring Twenties – complete with Cole Porter music, Ernest Hemingway literature, Picasso art and Gertrude Stein as critic of the book he has just written.

This is a wonderful film especially if one has a general familiarity of the art, literature and music of that era as well as a general understanding of cultural settings in times other than our own. The film is brilliant and clever as only Woody Allen can be. The protagonist could certainly have been Woody Allen himself as he has played similar roles in many of his earlier works and if it were in a different era perhaps 20 years ago then Woody would have played the lead role instead of Owen Wilson whom I think was excellent.

Allen's talent will endure long after all who have enjoyed the genre of his films have left the scene. He brings a flavor to his films that is unique to him and yet carries with it something that touches all of us by trying to understand the human condition, its philosophical dilemmas, its heartaches, its romantic love, its fears, its joys, its failures and its triumphs.

Which era would you want to return? I always say the late 60's but "Midnight in Paris" warns us each era has its problems and its vicissitudes as mankind tries to improve upon his historical condition from generation to generation. It, therefore, gives us pause for thought maybe the era in which we do live is the best era of all. It is surely the only one we know.

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