Tuesday, June 28, 2011
More on Midnight
With "Midnight in Paris" poised to become Woody Allen's most successful movie ever, I thought I'd write a little more about it. More precisely, I'm going to share my friend Ray Smith's thoughts on the film. You have the floor, Ray...
Just got back from a matinee of Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris, which several friends have recommended. I think it is one of his best in years, and I do mean going all the way back to Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters. It is an airy trifle, but absolutely charming. He takes what could be a one joke idea and by the end, makes one of the most interesting and profoundest (and he'd hate that word) statements he has ever made about life and getting through it and the unbelievably strong appeal of nostalgia for many people.
If you are of a certain age and a certain Liberal Arts mentality, you will have a wonderful time guessing who is going to pop up where. Many of the great figures of early 20th century art, literature, even cinema, become the object of witty throw-away lines and flat out funny scenes. And the cast of unknown and well known actors keeps the whole enterprise buoyantly aloft. Everyone has heard about Kathy Bate's Gertrude Stein, but, for my money, Adrian Brody's spot-on, hilarious Salvador Dali is even better (see accompanying photo --Joe). And Owen Wilson, never a favorite of mine, literally channels Woody Allen's movie persona...if Woody Allen was a tall blonde raised in the Mid-west.
And what I have always loved about Allen: if he loves something, he is not afraid to be unabashed about it. The film starts with a stunning montage of Paris that, if you have ever been there, just makes you sit saying "Oh, yes!" It's like Bogart saying in Casablanca, "We'll always have Paris." All in all a delight.
Thanks for your take on the movie, Ray. Myself, I find it amazing and delightful to see "Midnight in Paris" week after week sitting in those "top ten films of the previous weekend" lists, right there amidst all the summer blockbusters. It's kind of surreal, in fact... which is probably quite appropriate given the film's time-bending and mind-bending subject matter.