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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Midnight in Paris," a lovely fantasy

       This weekend I saw Woody Allen's latest, "Midnight in Paris," which he wrote and directed.  This is one of the few Allen films  I've seen that does not feature him as a character, but Owen Wilson, the protagonist, is very Woody Allen-like.  He has the same bumbling, confused, talkative persona.
      Wilson as Gil and his fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams) have gone with her parents to visit in Paris.  Inez's father, a conservative Republican, has taken a job there, but does not really like Paris and like his wife and daughter prefers all things to be American.  Gil, on the other hand, falls in love with Paris and wants to move there after he and Inez marry.  Inez wants to live in California and have Gil continue his job as a script writer.
     This becomes the basis of many conflicts between the couple.  Gil has written a novel and Inez does not take this seriously.  One night to get away from the stifling family and Inez's friends, Gil takes a walk though the dark streets of Paris.  At midnight, when bells are tolling the hour, a yellow 1920's cab comes by and the couple inside insist that he join them.  The couple is Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald dressed up for a party.  It takes a while for Gil to realize he has been transported to the 1920's, but once he realizes it, he joins the partying with enthusiasm.  He is introduced to Hemingway, Gertrude Stein (who agrees to critique his novel), T.S. Eliot, Dali, Matisse and most of the other artists and writers who were part of the ex-patriots scene in Paris in the 20's.
    Gil goes out late several more nights and when the bells toll midnight, the taxi always comes by with more artists and writers.  He is, of course, happy and delighted, but his relationship with Inez really starts to drift.  After much inner conflict and confusion about what is happening to him, he does eventually find happiness.
     The movie is a delight for anyone who loves Paris, the 1920's, and fantasy.  The opening scenes are street after street of all the lovely places in Paris.  If you've never been there, after viewing this movie you certainly may want to go if you have a spark of Romance.  Yes, that's with a capital "R" as in fantasy and make-believe. Gil accepts but never understands how he goes back in time.   In true Romantic style, he has "willing suspension of disbelief"and enjoys the ride.   The film was a treat for me, more so than any other Woody Allen film I've seen.  Being an English major may play a part in that.
      My own fantasy is to live in Paris part of every year and in New York City the other part.  They are my two very favorite cities.  Will a yellow, 1920's cab come to Jacksonville and find me?

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