Book to Movie: Midnight in Paris

Monday, July 25, 2011

Okay, okay, it isn't really a book to movie. However, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is definitely for the bookish. An engaged writer, Gil, who is dissatisfied with his lucrative life writing comedy screenplays and wants to work on his novel, falls in love with Paris as he spends time there with his fiance's family, who have traveled to Paris on a business trip. After a night of walking and avoiding his fiance's didactic and pompous friend, who has taken to tourist-ing with them, Gil is swept away to the Lost Generation, where he meets Hemingway and Fitzgerald, has Gertrude Stein critique his book, hears Dali wax bizarre on painting, sees Picasso womanize away, hears Cole Porter perform live, and meets a lovely woman who shares his nostalgia for the past.

First of all, the real star of this film is Paris. My husband had to essentially clap his hand over my mouth because the first several minutes of the film were a montage of places I knew and loved and I was freaking out. I could sit and watch the movie with the sound turned off (okay, maybe not in the Cole Porter scenes) and still be happy.

The book also appealed to me with its inclusion of bookish characters (and others from that era). I love Fitzgerald and have been learning to love Hemingway (and can't help but love his character... especially the way his lines are written to sound just like him). Cole Porter is one of my favorite jazz composers. Shakespeare and Co. is one of my favorite spots in Paris. It was exciting to see each new character come on the screen and to see them expressed (and at times parodied).

The movie had two weak points for me. First, Rachel McAdams' character was so inexpressibly awful that I couldn't stand when she was on the screen. I know that I profess to really enjoy those love-to-hate characters, but she was such a witch that I wanted to plug my ears and sing until she went away. I usually love Rachel McAdams, but she did a little too well at playing a selfish upper class brat in this movie. Secondly, while everything came together neatly, the climax or "a-ha!" moment had a little too much cheese for me. The moral was a little blatant. This isn't a huge glaring flaw - I still enjoyed the movie. It just felt a little contrived. I am by no means a film critic - these are entirely my own opinions.

However, overall, this was a fun movie - definitely one I would buy if it were five dollars at Target. I might go see it again in the dollar theater. I certainly want to see those breath-taking scenes of Paris again.


  1. I loathed Rachel McAdams' character...and her parents. I much preferred all of the scenes in the past!

  2. This is the ONE movie I was dying to see but didn't fit in while I was at sounds like waiting another year to watch it won't kill me, though I wouldn't mind spending a buck on a pirated version should it turn up on a Macedonian street corner soon. (Why does our praise sound so faint? $5 for a copy at target? $1 for a pirated copy with macedonian subtitles?)

    -- Ellen

  3. I have heard a lot of wonderful things about this movie and would really love to go see it. Unfortunately, it looks like I'm going to have to wait for it to come to DVD -- not many theaters in my area are still showing it. :(

  4. @softdrink - Yes. I do think that Gabrielle was my favorite character though! A good change from Rachel McAdams.

    @Pepca - You should!

    @Ellen - I know, right? I think it is just so hard to justify spending $10 on a movie when it can be viewed so much more cheaply through another venue (like Target!)

    @Jennifer - We had that problem, too - only shown in one theater! But it might be better to watch it at home - I kept squealing due to the gorgeous shots of Paris and my husband had to silence me. That is better for the privacy of your own home!


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