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Midnight in Paris


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#41 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 03:25 AM

Persiflage wrote:
: And for Gil, his magical trips to the past world ultimately help him view the modern world as just a little enchanted.

Really? If so, this is surely balanced by the fact that he comes to realize the past world was, itself, more ordinary than he took it for. That is, Gil comes to realize that everyone is dissatisfied with the time and place in which they live; I don't think that is QUITE the lesson that Lewis or Tolkien had in mind (unless they were trying to say that e.g. Earth is rendered just a little more magical by the fact that Narnians find their own world rather boring). And while the film isn't quite as explicit about this next part as it could be, Woody Allen himself has pointed out that the old world, no matter how much we romanticize it, actually had a lot of disadvantages compared to the present day, in terms of medicine or whatever -- so there, too, the point of the film is not so much how much magic we can find in the past, but how we need to temper our yearning for those "magical" worlds by realizing all the ways in which we already have it better than they did.

#42 Overstreet

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:07 PM

And yet, coming to terms with one's own situation and world still does not lead to trying to make existing relationships work, but, as in most Woody Allen films, seeing the existing relationship as a lost cause and embracing some new whim. (And a whim that looks so very much like young Mia Farrow... which adds new levels of wistfulness and bittersweetness to this film's conclusion.)

Sure, in this case both partners seem ready to throw the relationship aside. And in this case, thank God, they're not already married. But I had to admit that, at the end of this film, for all that I'd enjoyed, it was still a Woody Allen film about giving up on one relationship in order to find life in another. And I'd sure like to see him come around to making a film about making a difficult relationship work. He kind of goes there in Hannah and Her Sisters, but it felt like a matter of "settling for" the existing relationship there.

Having said that, I do really like this movie.

Edited by Overstreet, 03 February 2012 - 01:10 PM.


#43 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 01:31 PM

Still Spoilers Here

Persiflage wrote:
: And for Gil, his magical trips to the past world ultimately help him view the modern world as just a little enchanted.

Really? If so, this is surely balanced by the fact that he comes to realize the past world was, itself, more ordinary than he took it for. That is, Gil comes to realize that everyone is dissatisfied with the time and place in which they live; I don't think that is QUITE the lesson that Lewis or Tolkien had in mind (unless they were trying to say that e.g. Earth is rendered just a little more magical by the fact that Narnians find their own world rather boring). And while the film isn't quite as explicit about this next part as it could be, Woody Allen himself has pointed out that the old world, no matter how much we romanticize it, actually had a lot of disadvantages compared to the present day, in terms of medicine or whatever -- so there, too, the point of the film is not so much how much magic we can find in the past, but how we need to temper our yearning for those "magical" worlds by realizing all the ways in which we already have it better than they did.

It is true that Gil does realize that there are science & comfort advantages to the newer world over the older worlds. But I don't get the sense that these are the actual reasons why he chooses to return to modern reality. It's the infinite regression that he realizes once he hears past characters discussing how their view of the past was so much better than their present - that's part of what helps him reach his conclusion. I don't know if that is realizing that the past is more ordinary or worse that he thought it'd be. It never really seems less than enchanting (the film purposely doesn't show us the darker sides of the other past eras involved). Instead, it's realizing that the fact of being nostalgic for the past is a part of the human condition that exists in all eras, regardless of where you are. It's significant when Adriana asks him to reject her present to stay in her idea of the glorified past that he doesn't reject it in order to stay in his idea of the glorified past instead. He's been encouraged and inspired by the past, but he's learned lessons there that make the present more delightful, in and of itself, if that makes any sense.

And yet, coming to terms with one's own situation and world still does not lead to trying to make existing relationships work, but, as in most Woody Allen films, seeing the existing relationship as a lost cause and embracing some new whim. (And a whim that looks so very much like young Mia Farrow... which adds new levels of wistfulness and bittersweetness to this film's conclusion.)

Sure, in this case both partners seem ready to throw the relationship aside. And in this case, thank God, they're not already married. But I had to admit that, at the end of this film, for all that I'd enjoyed, it was still a Woody Allen film about giving up on one relationship in order to find life in another. And I'd sure like to see him come around to making a film about making a difficult relationship work. He kind of goes there in Hannah and Her Sisters, but it felt like a matter of "settling for" the existing relationship there.

Having said that, I do really like this movie.

The number of unbelievable relationships in Woody Allen films is large and seems to be one of his standard staring out plot lines. I always find it difficult to imagine how some of the couples in Allen's films ever got together with each other in the first place. In Midnight in Paris, you hear what is a stereotypical Allen doomed relationship during the opening credits before you even get to see either of the characters. What is different in this one, however, is that the protagonist ends up rejecting not one, but two relationships. Perhaps the reasons he rejects his idealized relationship might have something to do with why he rejects the other one as well. Not that McAdams' character is treated fairly in the film, she's not. But she and Michael Sheen's character both express their views on "Golden Age" thinking at the beginning of the film - and there is a sense in which her character represents this modern way of thinking. I'd argue that Gil rejects their view while also still refusing to indulge in his prior nostalgia (ultimately also rejecting Adriana's opposite view).

#44 Tyler

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:57 PM

Tried to watch this tonight. I lasted 25 minutes. Wanted to give up after 5.

Edited by Tyler, 06 March 2012 - 11:12 PM.


#45 Ryan H.

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:38 PM

Tried to watch this tonight. I lasted 25 minutes. Wanted to give up after 5.

So the opening montage of Parisian scenes really turned you off, then?

#46 Tyler

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:28 AM

Pretty much. I usually like things like that, but I couldn't get into this montage. I think it was the music.

And then it became a movie about a frustrated writer (strike one) who isn't satisfied with the kinds of success he's had (two) and has zero chemistry with the woman he apparently wants to spend his life with (three), and has stilted conversations real people wouldn't have (four) with the caricatured parents and ex-boyfriend (five). I held on to see if the 1920 stuff would be better, but it felt just as artificial and forced. And I knew he was going to learn some lessons about how the past wasn't as rosy as he thought and people have difficulties no matter where/when you are, and I get bored fast when a movie telegraphs exactly what it's going to be that early on.

#47 Darren H

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:23 AM

has zero chemistry with the woman he apparently wants to spend his life with


This is what killed it for me. I'm pretty sure this is the only Rachel McAdams movie I've seen, so I don't know if she's capable of acting or not, but I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and put all of the blame for her horrible performance on Woody. Because the modern day stuff is an obnoxious, off-balance, and not-funny farce, there's nothing at stake in the step-into-the-past sequences, which is a shame because Marion Cotillard is always awesome.

I only really enjoyed one moment in this whole film -- Owen Wilson's delivery of the line about how he and his fiancee have so much in common, like their love of the bread at Indian restaurants. "I guess it's called naan."

#48 Overstreet

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:56 PM

My biggest complaint about the movie is how it completely wastes Rachel McAdams. She's usually a joyful presence. A whiny and petty Rachel McAdams is a miscast Rachel McAdams.

#49 Christian

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:26 PM

A whiny and petty Rachel McAdams is a miscast Rachel McAdams.

Yes. Her character never had a chance.

Her name on a movie poster always makes me pay closer attention, but I don't think her work has born out that heightened interest. So far.

#50 Attica

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:48 PM

My biggest complaint about the movie is how it completely wastes Rachel McAdams. She's usually a joyful presence. A whiny and petty Rachel McAdams is a miscast Rachel McAdams.


I dunno. I wonder if the casting wasn't based on the understanding that we expect her to be a joyful presence, and she is one a the very start of the movie. At the start they seem to have a good relationship and she seems to be very likeable, but we quickly find out that it's superficial. Sure she's miscast as being a nasty person in any film, but I'm not sure if she's miscast as having a seemingly delightful personality that Gil discovers is only a false persona. That's part of Gil's dilemna. He's stuck with somebody who is so charming, and who has a family with a good societal appearance, so that he often appears to be the bad guy in the relationship, or at least worse than he really is, and therefore is a little stuck.

Having Rachel McAdams in the role probably helps us to at first view that character through the lense of how everybody else in Gil's word sees her, only to later discover what Gil has/is learning, about what she's really like.

Edited by Attica, 07 March 2012 - 02:49 PM.


#51 Jeremy Ratzlaff

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:02 PM

Having Rachel McAdams in the role probably helps us to at first view that character through the lense of how everybody else in Gil's word sees her, only to later discover what Gil has/is learning, about what she's really like.

Yeah, this is absolutely her role to play. I felt like her character was perfectly constructed as a growing contrast to Gil's 'fantasy' world, and her role in our perspective change was not only necessary but well executed.

..if anything, I had a major problem with Owen Wilson. I tried really hard to like his character. But it was difficult to see past the Owen Wilson, and I dislike the Owen Wilson.

#52 Attica

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:09 PM

Yeah, this is absolutely her role to play. I felt like her character was perfectly constructed as a growing contrast to Gil's 'fantasy' world, and her role in our perspective change was not only necessary but well executed.


Sure. Another interesting aspect is that her persona, and their relationship at the start of the film was also a fantasy..... which Gil was progessively seeing through. So then he goes to another fantasy only to find out that it isn't really of any value. He then ends up having to deal with and live in the real world.... but maybe that's not such a bad thing after all..... because at the core what Gil is really searching for is something real.

Edited by Attica, 07 March 2012 - 04:38 PM.


#53 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:49 AM


Edited by Persiflage, 15 March 2012 - 10:50 AM.


#54 Ryan H.

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:20 AM

It appears that MIDNIGHT IN PARIS had been brewing for quite a while.

Edited by Ryan H., 15 March 2012 - 11:20 AM.


#55 Judo Chop

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:37 AM

Saw this last night.
I liked, but didn’t love it. I do feel like more could’ve been done with it, to substantiate the characters. McAdams’ becomes tiring very quickly, her voice hitting that same note from beginning to end. I understand the intent of her character is purely functional (along with the rest of her family as all one big ugly worldview), and I don’t think it was wrong move Allen made to make her so – after all, if Gil’s arc is the one we are expected to concern ourselves with, positioning it against something static is certainly one way to call attention to it - but I do think an opportunity was missed. He might have given just us a little motivation to turn the page as her scenes go by.

Does she actually have a physical affair with the pedantic by the way? Her ‘confession’ could be interpreted in a couple ways, if I recall.

..if anything, I had a major problem with Owen Wilson. I tried really hard to like his character. But it was difficult to see past the Owen Wilson, and I dislike the Owen Wilson.


I too had just as hard a time seeing past the Owen Wilson. However, I love the Owen Wilson when he’s given an open pasture to run, and this one was a leashed/muzzled form, but the problem is ultimately the same. That said, my problem with him is a minor one. I do think he works fine, even very well, as Gil. He’s got that nasally mopiness that suits a rainy Paris night mixed in with his standard frivolity that keeps the tone from becoming too soggy.

Adrian Brody steals the show. I wouldn’t have minded more of that kind of exaggeration in the other historical characters. Hemmingway comes close.

Edited by Judo Chop, 19 April 2012 - 09:38 AM.


#56 SDG

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:32 AM

Does she actually have a physical affair with the pedantic by the way?

If I'm not mistaken, you want the noun form "pedant" rather than the adjectival "pedantic." The term comes, if I recall correctly, from the Italian pedante, meaning "teacher." Originally, interestingly enough, the word had no negative connotation; the Bard uses it non-pejoratively, I believe, in Love's Labour Lost, though not long afterward it appeared in its modern sense in Thomas Nashe, if memory serves.

Edited by SDG, 19 April 2012 - 10:33 AM.


#57 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:34 AM

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#58 Judo Chop

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:05 AM

Does she actually have a physical affair with the pedantic by the way?

If I'm not mistaken, you want the noun form "pedant" rather than the adjectival "pedantic." The term comes, if I recall correctly, from the Italian pedante, meaning "teacher." Originally, interestingly enough, the word had no negative connotation; the Bard uses it non-pejoratively, I believe, in Love's Labour Lost, though not long afterward it appeared in its modern sense in Thomas Nashe, if memory serves.

I actually meant to say ‘pedantist’. A medical doctor who specializes in children’s teeth. Does she sleep with him?

#59 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:41 AM

Sony Classics Sued By Faulkner Estate Over ‘Midnight In Paris’ Quote
The rightsholders to William Faulkner’s work say Sony Pictures Classics had no right to use a quote from the author’s Requiem For A Nun in Woody Allen’s 2011 film Midnight In Paris. Faulkner Literary Rights filed suit (read it here) today against the studio in U.S. District Court in Mississippi for copyright infringement, commercial appropriation and violation of the Lanham Act. “Sony’s actions in distributing the Infringing Film were malicious, fraudulent, deliberate and/or willful,” says the six-page complaint. “Sony did not have Faulkner’s consent to appropriate William Faulkner’s name or his works for Sony’s advantage,” it adds. In Midnight In Paris, Gil Pender, the disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter played by Owen Wilson, says, “the past is not dead. Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party.” The rightsholder say the slightly paraphrased quote could “deceive the infringing film’s viewers as to a perceived affiliation, connection or association between William Faulkner and his works, on the one hand, and Sony, on the other hand.”
Faulkner Literary Rights have requested a jury trial and is seeking an injunction against Sony Classics. They also want compensatory and punitive damages, legal fees and some of the movie’s profits. Midnight In Paris was Woody Allen’s highest-grossing film ever, bringing in $148.4 million worldwide. Interestingly, Allen, who wrote the script, is not named as a defendant. . . .
Deadline.com, October 25

#60 Ryan H.

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:49 AM

Sony Classics Sued By Faulkner Estate Over ‘Midnight In Paris’ Quote
The rightsholders to William Faulkner’s work say Sony Pictures Classics had no right to use a quote from the author’s Requiem For A Nun in Woody Allen’s 2011 film Midnight In Paris. Faulkner Literary Rights filed suit (read it here) today against the studio in U.S. District Court in Mississippi for copyright infringement, commercial appropriation and violation of the Lanham Act. “Sony’s actions in distributing the Infringing Film were malicious, fraudulent, deliberate and/or willful,” says the six-page complaint. “Sony did not have Faulkner’s consent to appropriate William Faulkner’s name or his works for Sony’s advantage,” it adds. In Midnight In Paris, Gil Pender, the disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter played by Owen Wilson, says, “the past is not dead. Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party.” The rightsholder say the slightly paraphrased quote could “deceive the infringing film’s viewers as to a perceived affiliation, connection or association between William Faulkner and his works, on the one hand, and Sony, on the other hand.”
Faulkner Literary Rights have requested a jury trial and is seeking an injunction against Sony Classics. They also want compensatory and punitive damages, legal fees and some of the movie’s profits. Midnight In Paris was Woody Allen’s highest-grossing film ever, bringing in $148.4 million worldwide. Interestingly, Allen, who wrote the script, is not named as a defendant. . . .
Deadline.com, October 25

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