June 14th, 2011 / 9:14 am

Expat Fever

I went to see Midnight in Paris last night. It was silly and predictable and obvious. And I loved it. Owen Wilson played a great Woody Allen. Rachel McAdams, a truly hateful soon-to-be wife. But their story is really just a vehicle to get the actual narrative rolling. When Wilson’s character, Gil, a hack screenwriter trying to be a novelist, starts going back in time  on some freak Cinderella-story midnight stroll and meets up with the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Picasso, Stein, Dali, Man Ray, Cole Porter, TS Eliot–there are many more–I couldn’t help but be giddy. I’ve always wanted to see these people in action–and there they were. Hemingway talking in Hemingway sentences, Zelda Fitzgerald’s buzzing mania, Dali rambling incoherently about rhinos, Picasso a little bald, Stein the gentle aunty.  Sure, Allen’s depiction was as Disney as it gets. Sure, Allen was indulging in pure fantasy, and I fell hard. I left the movie theater…dancing. This is not a movie review. I’m not generally a Woody Allen fan, even. This is a note about surprise. I went to see Midnight in Paris because there was nothing else worth watching, and I wanted to sit in the local art house theater with a very full glass of Pinot Noir, some Dots, and a handsome date. I’m surprised that make- believe can still give me joy. I’m happy that I haven’t totally given up on the fairytale. And it’s cute to see Wilson playing Cinderella.

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  1. Ben Roylance

      I enjoyed it. So much. I agree with most of this post. 

  2. stephen

      Cool, i’m planning on seeing it

  3. deadgod

      I thought Branagh did the best ‘Woody’, even better than Konigsberg.  Stein “gentle”?? – that is “fantasy”.  Broadway Danny Rose is a great fairytale.

      Dots make many activities better.

  4. Tyty Lin


  5. Tyty Lin


  6. RLF at The Missouri Review

      I second the enthusiasm – I’ve never seen such convincing literary celebrity caricatures, nor have I seen actors so able to speak WA’s lines, both the funny and unfunny ones, in a long time.

  7. c2k

      Jason Biggs did a decent, very-literal Woody in yet another Konigsberg production no one saw back on ’03.

  8. xxy

      good to see that james joyce had better things to do.

      so this movie is hot tub time machine for hipsters?

  9. c2k

      in 2003.

  10. karl taro

      didn’t like this movie. thought the literary caricatures were all obvious and easy. no new twists or new takes. the owen wilson successful screenwriter who wants to become a novelist never felt in any way believable or real. every image in this film, from contemporary Paris represented as post-card Eifel tower and louvre and so forth to the 20s represented as Hemmingway and F. Scott and Picasso, was a cliche. 
      And I mostly like his movies, even the recent not-as-good ones with Larry David and Kenneth Branaugh and Vicky Christina. 

  11. leapsloth14

      Why do Woody Allen leading men (once he got too old) try to play Woody Allen. Does anyone else find this odd?

  12. deadgod

      – because they need the eggs.

  13. jh

      The guy who played F. Scott Fitzgerald is uncannily similar in profile. Really, really good match.

  14. Guestagain

      going to see it this weekend, but alone, so I don’t have to discuss it with anyone, will get the Sno Caps though, and a Dr. Pepper

  15. c2k

      Palimpsestic nebbish.

  16. Janey Smith

      Alexis? Owen Wilson as Cinderella meets Dali’s rhinoceros? Romantic, wonderful, hot. 

  17. Jeje Lin


  18. Jeje Lin


  19. c2k
  20. deadgod

      If Kierkegaard and Dahuna Barnes’s love child started a band with Dostoevsky and Origen, it would be that movie.

  21. Nick Antosca

      I love it too

  22. deadgod

      Ha ha ha – Michael Sheen does a great Tony Roberts.

  23. mimi

      Is there any young actress out there today that could do a great Diane Keaton?

  24. mimi

      Or Louise Lasser ha ha ha ha