This week has been both super busy and super lazy in the way that only the Christmas holiday week can be. I’ve eaten twice my body weight in sweets, narrowly avoided hitting my dad in the face with the Wii remote during my, perhaps over-enthusiastic, attempt to become reigning champion in the Sports Resort swordfight game, watched every Christmas film ever produced and braved the elements for a half-hearted attempt to work off some calories at the gym. One thing I’ve also been lucky enough to do, was curl up on the couch and watch my favourite film of all-time, Midnight in Paris.
Midnight in Paris is a film that some of you will probably be sick hearing me talk about because I do tend to go on about how wonderful it is any chance I can get. This is a film that if you love Paris, if you love some of the literary greats and/or if you’ve got a thing for the 20s, you will absolutely fall in love with. It starts off with American screenwriter, Gil Prender (Owen Wilson) arriving in Paris with his fiancee, Ines (Rachel McAdams) and her parents who are there for business. Gil is a romantic who has been struggling to write his first novel and dreams of living in what he feels is the golden age – Paris in the 20s. Ines and her parents, on the other hand, are superficial, ultra-conservative and just generally horrible, horrible people.
One night after being abandoned by Ines who decides to go dancing with some friends after a wine tasting, Gil finds himself lost and wandering the streets of Paris. At first everything appears normal but when the clock strikes midnight, a vintage car pulls up and some very drunk Parisians manage to convince a very drunk Gil, to get in and go with them to a party. Over the course of the night he sees Cole Porter play the piano, meets the Fitzgeralds, sees Josephine Baker shaking her stuff and has Ernest Hemingway offer to show his novel to Gertrude Stein. Somehow he has found a magical window in Paris where, at midnight every night, he gets to slip backwards through time and hob nob with his literary idols.
I have always loved Paris but after seeing this film I think it’s safe to say that love has turned to obsession. Particularly with Paris in the 1920s. It just totally blows my mind that all these literary greats were not only there at the same time but that many of them knew each other, and the poets and artists of the time too. This film completely transports you back in time to Paris of the 20s and captures the spirit of these great artists perfectly. The casting was some of the best I’ve ever seen with the actors not only looking the part but really able to bring these geniuses to life. Everyone from Hemingway to Salvador Dali to T.S Elliott are there and all become so alive and real again through these performances.
The film is also a true love letter to Paris and as Gil wanders its streets with the characters he meets there, you really get to see the magic and beauty of that amazing city. I can practically guarantee that after watching it you will immediately want to book yourself on a flight to Paris and start wandering the streets yourself. It’s a magical story, very easy to lose yourself in and has me sighing with both contentment and longing every time I watch it. If you’ve seen it already, you’ll know exactly what I mean and if not, you will thank me for introducing you to it. 🙂
Have you ever seen Midnight in Paris?
What are some of your favourite films?
Do you have any time periods you’d like to visit or literary idols you’d like to meet?