Summer is our time to slow down. Take some time to take a breath and engage in hopefully a certain amount of self-indulgence. What would you do if you could do anything? Would you lie in a hammock and read all day? Would you walk the streets of Paris at night trying to figure out how to follow your dreams? Do you still indulge in following those dreams? Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s newest contribution to cinematic escapism. It stars Owen Wilson as Gil, a successful but deeply unsatisfied Hollywood screenwriter. While vacationing in Paris with his fiancée Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, he finds himself magically transported to the Paris of the 1920’s, a nostalgic time that he has always longed to experience. As the story line takes us back and forth between modern day and the roaring 20’s, Gil tries to figure out what he truly wants out of life. In comes the big life fork in the road: do you go for your dreams or take the safe path? Where is the grass greener? But the best line comes from Gil as he starts to figure it out, he says something like “We have to give up the illusion that we would be happier if we stayed in the past.” Where does this movie work? First and foremost is Wilson. He is so charming that you can’t help but just go with what he is trying to sell, which in this case is a pretty sweet but “self-indulging” kind of guy. It is hard to throw sympathy at a character who wants to walk away from a future of millions and Malibu to see if he can “make it” as a writer. That brings us to the next part of what works. Gil wants to be a novelist, but is reluctant to share his work for fear of how he will be judged. So, as in any comparable situation, his work lands in the inner circle of the 1920’s most brilliant minds. Gil finds himself befriending Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso, Dali, etc, etc. Rough right? Anyway, this shoulder rubbing of a modern day man and the genius of the past is a pretty fun way to tell a story, no matter how far fetched it seems to become. All in all, Midnight in Paris is a sweet, yet soft, film. It is entertaining and reflective. It is not going to change your life, but hopefully it will remind you to take some time to review your dreams or maybe even find some new ones. Either way, enjoy it and your summer.
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.