Midnight in Paris

7.71 h 34 min2011X-RayPG-13
A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.
Woody Allen
Kathy BatesAdrien BrodyCarla Bruni
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Marion CotillardRachel McAdamsMichael SheenOwen Wilson
Letty AronsonStephen TenenbaumJaume Roures
Sony Pictures Entertainment Co
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Nudityviolencealcohol usesmokingfoul languagesexual content
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4.7 out of 5 stars

6896 global ratings

  1. 83% of reviews have 5 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

The Wingchair CriticReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Manhattan's Loss, The World's Gain
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After an artistic and commercial surge that lasted from 1969's 'Take the Money And Run' through 1987's 'Radio Days,' Woody Allen's creative powers began to noticeably flag in the late 1980s. His comic films seemed repetitive and were no longer very funny, his dramas were murky and superficial, his productions began to look shabby (1993's thread-worn 'Manhattan Murder Mystery' being a good example) and, where Allen once commanded the finest acting talent the industry had to offer, his films began to be populated with second- and third-tier performers.

The Mia Farrow/Soon-Yi Previn scandal, which broke in the early 1990s, further alienated the general public, and, with the commercial failure of his projects, Allen began having trouble finding financing for his films.

Still, when Allen, who had rarely made a film outside of New York City, decamped to London to make 2005's critically and commercially successful crime drama 'Match Point,' New Yorkers were aghast, since they appeared to be losing their city's greatest ambassador. But Allen went on to celebrate the city of London in the mediocre 'Scoop' (2006) and both the underrated drama 'Cassandra's Dream' and the equally underrated comedic 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger' (2007 and 2010, respectively).

In between, Allen stopped over in Barcelona to film the internationally acclaimed comedy 'Vicki Cristina Barcelona,' a film which, as 'Match Point' had done for London, did for the Spanish city what Allen had done for New York City decades ago in 1979's 'Manhattan,' still one of the jewels in the crown of his career.

How wonderful for Allen, and for movie-lovers everywhere, that Allen, at present in his 70s, has now done the same thing for the French capitol with 2011's 'Midnight in Paris,' which, among things, is the first authentically warm film Allen has ever made.

There have been moments of human warmth in earlier Allen films (the poignant conclusion of 'Manhattan,' some of the scenes between Cecilia and Tom Baxter in 1985's 'The Purple Rose of Cairo,' or those between Eliot and Lee, or Mickey and Holly in 1986's 'Hannah & Her Sisters'), but 'human warmth,' as such, has never been very high on the list of subjects Allen has chosen to explore, despite his obvious romanticism.

The literally magical 'Midnight in Paris' has a very simple plot, a fact which works in the film's favor throughout: Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), a successful Hollywood screenwriter who would actually prefer to be a successful novelist of literary merit, is visiting Paris with his beautiful but shrewish fiancé, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and her wealthy, conservative, and materialistic parents. Enchanted by his knowledge of Parisian history and the Parisian streets themselves, Gil makes excuses and breaks away from Inez and her entourage.

Unable to find his hotel as midnight approaches, the slightly drunken Gil is picked up by a mysterious vintage automobile of boisterous bon vivants; before long, he finds himself drinking, dancing and conversing with F. Scott and Zleda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll, who steals the film with a dynamic and subtle performance), Gertrude Stein (a not very believable Kathy Bates), Djuna Barnes, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali (a hilarious Adrien Brody), and other literary and artistic legends in the distant Paris of the 1920s, a 'dream period' in which Gil imagines life would have been full of meaning, beauty, purpose, and endless, but realizable, potential.

Finding himself cast adrift in the present again the following morning, Gil attempts to recreate and share his secret with Inez on the next evening, but vulgar and petulant Inez, bored with waiting, leaves before midnight, the magic hour in which the car appears to escort Gil into the past. In his nightly revels in 1920s Paris, Gil eventually falls in love with Picasso's mistress, Adrianna (a gently stunning Marion Cotillard), a woman who is as lovely in spirit as she is in person. Much to his surprise, however, Gil finds that Adrianna cares little for her own era and instead romanticizes turn of the century Paris---the Belle Époque.

Unable to explain his preoccupied mental state or his midnight wanderings to Inez or her family, Gil, who thinks Paris looks best in the rain, takes again to the daylight Parisian streets, where he encounters young antiques dealer Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) and strikes up a promising acquaintanceship, though Adrianna and the 1920s continue to haunt and lure him on.

Stunningly photographed by Darius Khondji, 'Midnight in Paris' not only ends warmly and happily, but the film is full of life, dimension, and figurative color to a degree never attempted in an Allen film.

Though Inez and her family, as types, have appeared recently in other Allen films, they are in no way the focus of the film: they are present merely to show what Gil has to fully realize and reject before he can move on with his life in a truly satisfactory manner. The script makes some rather lowly and cumbersome digs at the Republican party and the Tea Party movement, but the remarks, which flow from Gil's mouth, feel so tacked on and superfluous that they are easy to overlook.

Warm in tone and color, beautiful to look at, wonderfully written and acted (Owen Wilson is by far the best 'Woody Allen stand-in' since John Cusack), and powerfully scored and edited, 'Midnight in Paris' stands alongside 'Love & Death' (1975), 'Annie Hall' (1977), 'Interiors' (1978), 'Manhattan,' 'Stardust Memories' (1980), the underrated 'A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy' (1982), 'Broadway Danny Rose' (1984), 'The Purple Rose of Cairo,' 'Hannah & Her Sisters,' 'Bullets Over Broadway' (1994), 'Match Point,' and 'Vicki Cristina Barcelona' as one of Allen's most creatively successful, joyous, and visionary films.

More than midway through the film, Allen has Gertrude Stein telling Gil that the artist's job is to provide meaning in a meaningless world, something 'Midnight In Paris' itself does in poignant and touching fashion.
11 people found this helpful
QuasiMoFoReviewed in the United States on September 21, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Clever and inventive storytelling.
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Woody Allen writes a fantasy love letter to Paris and it is witty and charming. The casting of this film is it's stellar, seemingly every scene is a star that has gone on to become an "A" lister. It is always fun to realize you now know them for being more famous. A bit like watching old episodes of Law and Order and seeing Laura Linny before she became well known. The script is funny and the timing are what we have all come to expect of a Woody Allen film. The cinematography is top notch. Bottom line ....there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes.
MiniReviewed in the United States on June 25, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Parisian Dreams!
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Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are a young(ish) couple visiting Paris. They’re planning their wedding, with clear but different visions of a future together. Inez wants to live in Malibu, where they’ll enjoy a lavish Hollywood lifestyle, for Gil is a successful screenwriter. Gil? He dreams of moving to Paris — his favorite city in the world. There’s something about Paris. The history. The culture. The city lights. The old buildings, cobblestone streets, old-fashioned lamp posts. The arts. Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris during the 1920s. So did F. Scott Fitzgerald. To live in Paris during the Roaring Twenties! That’s the dream! Gil has another dream. He wants to quit screenwriting and pursue the world of literature. This is risky, for it takes time to develop a long-term career as a serious novelist, and he’s already established a mega-successful career writing movies. Inez doesn’t agree with any of his plans. Why change things when their life is perfect the way it is? 

But their life isn’t perfect. Something’s missing. Something’s off. They don’t even like each other most of the time. This becomes clear when the unthinkable happens: Gil time-travels to 1920s Paris at the stroke of midnight. It happened by accident at first. He couldn’t find his hotel one night, and then — before he knew it — he was in a motorcar, headed to a late-night party. The guests? F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. But that’s not all. Gil also meets Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Pablo Picasso, Josephine Baker, among other big names. He also meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard) — a beautiful but melancholy French woman looking for love in all the wrong (but notable) men around her. Gil is mystified. Stupefied, anesthetized. Lobotomized. (Hee-hee!) He falls for a woman from another time, as unreachable as the tip of the Eiffel Tower.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is one of my favorite movies. It’s so good. SO GOOD! Everyone who loves Paris will adore this film. It checks all the boxes for me. Oddball comedy? Check! Set in Europe? Check! A snarky but idealistic protagonist with big dreams? Check! Time travel romance? Unrequited love from another time? CHECK! This film pulled at my heartstrings in more ways than one. I, too, dream of visiting an European city in another time, only mine is post-war Vienna. When I mention this movie to people, they wrinkle their noses and say, “Isn’t that a Woody Allen movie?” We all know about Woody Allen, but am I supposed to hate this movie now? Sorry, can’t do that. Love or hate him, Woody Allen has created some amazing films, and this one’s my favorite. (I also like MIGHTY APHRODITE.) 

The characters are great. Owen does his usual (and enjoyable) sarcastic routine, and McAdams’s delivery reminds me of an adult Regina George (her character in MEAN GIRLS). This couple — and the movie’s plot — is a loose version of a young Woody and Mia, an idealistic but flawed couple who are clearly wrong for each other. Downsides? Some anachronisms. Gil and Adriana dance to a 1930s song, and Gil says F. Scott Fitzgerald explains “cognitive dissonance” to him. (Fitzgerald does talk about cognitive dissonance in his writing, but he didn’t use that term, because it wasn’t used until the 1950s.) There are numerous anachronisms and plot holes, but I don’t care. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this movie? Don’t miss out on it! Five solid noisette (the CORRECT way to create a macchiato!).
68 people found this helpful
555 LoverReviewed in the United States on October 6, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Really enjoyable film
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Very innovative film. Fun to watch. Classic Woody Allen.
johnna taylorReviewed in the United States on September 12, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Written and directed by woody Allen. That’s says it all!!!
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One of my faves with Owen Wilson and Rachel mcadams. Owen as Gil, time travels back to Paris in the 20’s (what he considers the golden age) each night at midnight meeting Picasso, Hemingway, Stein, the Fitzgerald’s, Cole and Linda porter, Dali, Modigliani and more. Fantastic movie!
Vicki HopkinsReviewed in the United States on November 29, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely Enchanting
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I will admit that I occasionally find no interest in movies based on their title and cover. "Midnight in Paris" happened to be one of those that I had no desire to watch. Frankly, I'm not that interested in vacationing in Paris, so I thought the movie wouldn't interest me if that happened to be the subject matter. I knew it did well in Oscar nominations and wins for Woody Allen, but it didn't incite me to watch it anyway.

So here we are, four years later, and I rent it on Amazon Prime streaming instant video. What a fantastic romantic comedy with a message that, for me as an author, goes straight to my heart.

Meet Gil Pender, a screenwriter and hopeful novelist, who is vacationing in Paris. He is somewhat like me in the fact that he fantasizes about eras past. For him, it's the 1920's in Paris, while for me I'm stuck in the Victorian Era. Gil thinks that life must have been really peachy in Paris with the great upcoming artists of its time like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, Picasso, and many others. In fact, he is so in love with Paris, that he tries to talk his fiancee to moving there to live after they marry. However, she's more of a realist and really wants to stay in the states in Malibu and Hollywood.

One evening, when his girlfriend would rather go dancing than walk back to the hotel with him, they go their separate ways. Gil wanders around the city trying to find his way back. A classic car from the past pulls up and stops. The occupants encourage him to take a ride with him, so he climbs in for fun, drinks, and the time of his life. They arrive at a party, and low and behold, he's been transported back into 1920 meeting the people he has admired his entire life. When he returns to reality, his fiancee thinks he has a brain tumor. Nevertheless, each night he goes back, and when the clock strikes midnight, his ride returns for another adventure.

The story is filled with wonderful themes, and for me as an author, I laughed, oohed, and awed, over some stellar lines. When Gil asks Hemingway to read his book, he replies, "If it's bad, I'll hate it because I hate bad writing, and if it's good, I'll be envious and hate all the more. You don't want the opinion of another writer."

However, the most poignant part of the movie is the theme that those who are nostalgic about former eras, thinking they were better than the present, are misguided. Michael Sheen, who plays a know-it-all vying for the affections of Gil's girlfriend, states this one spot-on statement.

"Nostalgia is denial - denial of the painful present... the name for this denial is golden age thinking - the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one's living in - it's a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present."

Of course, as a writer of historical romances, and understanding the need for women who read them, it is quite true. The magic realization is that each generation feels the same. A woman that Gil falls for in the 1920's, dreams about living in the Belle Epoque time period (the overlapping era of Victorian and Edwardian). That generation probably fantasized about the Regency era.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. It was lighthearted, thought provoking, and some of the lines were diamonds. Woody Allen is a genius at times, and his multiple awards for the screenplay were well deserved.
2 people found this helpful
Ben J KorgenReviewed in the United States on November 9, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Woody Allen Writes And Directs A Path To Reality, Relationship Gem
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This movie is the story of Gil (Owen Wilson), a bored screenwriter living in California in a state of unrest about the possibility that he could become a distinguished novelist. He simultaneously has become aware of the many writers and artists who have established their style and credibility during stays in Paris. Dreaming of doing the same, he falls in love with Paris and with the idea that he must see Paris in the rain. Eventually, he convinces his attractive but skeptical fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) that he must go there with her and make a highly focused effort to become an established novelist. They arrive and soon her Father (Kurt Fuller) and mother (Mimi Kennedy) arrive on one of her father's business trips. During a dinner in Paris scheduled for sensitive, open-minded and creative Gil and her parents to get to know each other, it becomes obvious that her wealthy, conservative and fixed-belief parents (Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy) clash with Gil on almost every topic that comes up. Early on, the most sensitive viewers are almost sure to notice that in some ways, Inez is like her parents and might not be an ideal match for Gil. After getting settled in Paris, Inez encounters friends Paul (Michael Sheen), a pedantic know-it-all who talks almost continually and Carol (Nina Arianda). Paul and Carol invite Gil and Inez to go dancing. Inez accepts but Gil declines. He wants to walk the streets of Paris at night to start soaking up the atmosphere he thinks might help him find himself as a distinguished novelist. As a Paris clock loudly chimes the hour of midnight, a large and ancient taxi drives up to Gil and an animated and happy group of drinkers invite him inside. The taxi drops Gil and his new friends at a lively party where he realizes he has passed through a time warp and is in the presence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and many other celebrities alive and well in the 1920s. Gil revels in his good fortune and thinks the 1920s is the golden era he would most want to live in. He meets and falls in love with the beautiful Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who has just broken up with Pablo Picasso. Just when Gil decides his relationship with Inez must end and begins gushing to Adriana about his love for her and the need to be together forever, Gil and Adriana slip into a second time warp, leading to their meeting a whole new batch of celebrities of the late 1800s such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas. This second time warp experience impresses Adriana and causes her to tell Gil she cannot stay with him in the 1920s because the late 1800s was the true golden age. During daylight the next day when Gil realizes his relationships with both Inez and Adriana are over he has a sudden flash of insight telling him that there is no golden era worth striving to enter. We live in the era into which we are born and should make the most of it. While walking the streets of Paris in a daze about how to proceed, he unexpectedly encounters Gabrielle, a level-headed, smiling and attractive female shopkeeper he had purchased Cole Porter records from earlier. They walk together tuned to the same mental wavelength and the viewers are led to believe they would make a wonderful couple. This is a delightful, full of fancy, warm-hearted and funny movie. It is among the best work Woody Allen has offered to the thinking world.
3 people found this helpful
Robert CooperReviewed in the United States on September 6, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful transfer!
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One of my favorite Woody Allen comedies. Love the subject matter of Culture clash, culture clash, longing, and creative tension this movie illuminates. My two favorite French actresses appear as well.
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