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Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams And Michael Sheen Charm In "Midnight In Paris"

Piya Sinha-Roy |
May 22, 2011 | 12:21 p.m. PDT

Senior Entertainment Editor

Owen Wilson plays writer Gil Pender in Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris." (Sony Pictures Classics)
Owen Wilson plays writer Gil Pender in Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris." (Sony Pictures Classics)
Woody Allen returns with yet another beautifully crafted love letter to the city of love. “Midnight in Paris,” features a newly engaged couple embarking on a vacation to explore the French city ahead of their wedding, only to find their own relationship taking an unexpected turn. 

Perhaps an unusual choice for the lead role, comedian Owen Wilson plays Gil Pender, a writer struggling to finish a novel and searching for a sense of validation and reassurance. As his fiancé revels in touristic Paris, Pender finds himself transported back in time to Paris in the 1920s, where he meets some of literature’s most iconic figures and finds himself trapped mentally between present day and the golden age. 

McAdams is flawless in her performance as Inez, the high-maintenance fiancé of Wilson’s Pender. For once, McAdams isn’t the sexual object of the film, something she herself seems grateful for. Michael Sheen also delivers a hilarious performance as the ‘pedantic’ American gentleman who polarizes Wilson’s naïve writer.

Wilson is the film’s star, drawing on his ability to appear vulnerable and yet charming, self-deprecating and yet confidently sparring wit. His wide-eyed innocence is endearing and his journey becomes the audiences’ journey, as he begins to understand himself and his surroundings with more clarity.

The core of the film lies in society’s ennui with the age they live in, often harking to some golden age of the past. Allen explores this in Paris, drawing on the city’s rich romantic history. The star-studded actors who bring to life some of the 19th century’s most interesting characters like Adrien Brody’s Salvador Dali and Kathy Bates’ Gertrude Stein, deliver magnetic performances. But it is Marion Cotillard’s sultry eyes and captivating voice, the very image of the French vixen, which enamors Pender and the audience.

The real love story in this film is Allen’s infatuation with the city of Paris. Whether it is the Belle Époque or present day, Paris is depicted to be an ethereal and enticing entity, retrospective and romantic in its beauty. As Pender finds inspiration in Paris’ past, he also begins to appreciate Paris’ present, 

This film may or may not leave you pining for a better age, but it will certainly make you want to book the first flight out to Paris and fall in love with its seductive charm.

Reach Senior Entertainment Editor Piya Sinha-Roy here, and follow her on Twitter @PiyaSRoy.



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