Woody Allen‘s most financially successful movie just might be his best. Midnight in Paris is a magical experience that takes you by surprise and never let’s go. It reminds you why you love going to the movies so much and it re-establishes Woody Allen as a director that can still make high quality films. He’s made dozens of great films, but recently he’s hit a slump in quality and most fans feared his best was behind him, but Midnight in Paris changes that mindset. It’s an easy going romance with a historical twist that is sure to please.
Gil (Owen Wilson) and his soon to be wife Inez (Rachel McAdams) travel to Paris with Inez’s parents. Gil is a movie writer who mostly bangs out gun for hire type scripts that result in hefty paychecks. Gil isn’t worried about losing his gig in Hollywood because he’s successful and he finds the work easy. His true passion is his book that he’s working on. This book is something he’s pouring his heart into in hopes of getting out of his writing slump. He’s obsessed with the past and constantly reminds Inez that he was born in the wrong time.
While soaking up Paris with Inez and her parents Gil starts a tradition of taking a walk every night around midnight. Originally it started as a way of getting away from Inez’s annoying know it all friend Paul (Michael Sheen), but then something magical happens that makes Gil anxious to return for more each night. These midnight walks not only help his writing, but they also help him grasp an understanding on life and what it truly means to be satisfied with what you have.
To say anything more about Midnight in Paris would rob the viewer of the magic that Woody Allen creates on the screen. Midnight in Paris is an escape film that allows you to transport to a marvelous world. It sets up the story like a typical romance, but with a higher appreciation for the genre. Allen is a story teller and he proves it in such simple ways like having a classical song play over the opening credits. He allows you to truly soak up the city of Paris not only as the setting for the film, but as a key character.
After the credits you’re relaxed and ready for the ride. Owen Wilson plays Gil; the honest writer who enjoys beauty in everyday things. He wants simple things like a house in Paris to focus on his writing. Rachel McAdams plays Inez; the spoiled daughter who somehow gets along with Gil. It’s made very clear that the two argue a lot at the beginning of the film and it’s only a matter of time before Gil is let loose into the wild to roam Paris.
A few other noticeable performances come from Tom Hiddleston, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Corey Stoll and Marion Cotillard. I’d suggest not checking out which characters they play because that would only ruin the surprise of the films true self.
Woody Allen has no problem letting the viewer simply invest in Gil and watching him interact with others. Midnight in Paris isn’t a fast paced story with little room to breathe. It’s a slow transformation into something special, something that only a gifted filmmaker like Woody Allen could make. The actors all provide likable characters, but it’s the general feeling of the movie that makes it such a good film.
I’ve never been a huge Woody Allen fan, but Midnight in Paris has changed that. It gives me motivation to check out films of his that I skipped over and to go back and re-watch a few that I might not have liked. Midnight in Paris is my favorite Allen film and one of my favorites of the year. I’ve yet to see another film this year that grabs me and sucks me into the screen like Midnight in Paris does. It’s a very strong feeling.
Sony transfers the film with a yellow heavy 1080p video transfer. The entire film has a yellow/orange shade to it that brings out the warmth in every scene. Skin tones are bright and most of the scenery is on the brighter side. Detail is sharp and most of the films locations look even better than before because of the added clarity on the Blu-Ray disc.
Midnight in Paris isn’t a very loud film, but the 3.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track does a good job of keeping things focused. Dialogue is spoken clearly and music isn’t loud, but easy enough to hear. Some might be disappointed with the lack of activity with the track, but I think it suits the film just fine.
Like most Woody Allen films Midnight in Paris comes with barely any extras. There’s one short feature that involves the cast and crew discussing the film, but other than that the disc comes with a gallery and a trailer. Here’s the full list below.
- Midnight in Cannes (HD)
- Cast & Crew Photo Galleries (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Previews (HD)
I think most people are going to be surprised with how much they end up enjoying Midnight in Paris. It’s a universal story about finding yourself and who better to tell it then Woody Allen? Its beautiful location and interesting characters make the film feel like an achievement, especially during a year full of sequels and comic book movies. Woody Allen brings back that classic feeling that most directors have lost. Some might find the film slow at times, but I was so captured by everything going on that I lost track of time.
The Blu-Ray disc looks great and sounds good, but might push away buyers due to the lack of extras. Woody Allen is known for not putting special features on his discs, so if you’re a fan of his then chances are you’re use to this and you’ll buy the disc anyways. For everyone else I strongly suggest renting the film and seeing where it sits with you.