I really love this new Woody Allen film, although I am really annoyed that it was too intellectual for me. Maybe that’s the magic of Allen. Even if you don’t get all the references and humor, you can still love his work.
Set in modern times, Gil (Owen Wilson) is a writer on vacation in Paris with his annoying fiance’ Inez (Rachel McAdams.) Gil is attached to the romantic notion that living in 1920’s Paris, would be the best time to have lived. Misunderstood by his fiancé and her conservative parents, Gil one night decides to walk the streets of Paris to get away. At the strike of midnight, he hops a cab that whisks him back in time to Paris of the 20’s.
There, he meets his favorites who are still in their prime. Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, T.S. Elliott, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali and the list goes on. Gil manages to keep this all on the level and even convinces some of the greats to critique the book he’s working on.
Imagine you’re meeting your favorite rock star for the first time and you play it completely cool. That’s the youthful spirit that Wilson manages to exhibit and temper at the same time. Watching that, you can’t help but feel excited.
Here’s the bad part. This movie is a 110 minute dream fantasy sequence for history of English literature lovers. I am not one of those people, but I can respect them from a distance. If you start quoting prose to me, my eyes may glaze over.
I like this movie because it takes those characters and puts them in personal situations. What would the conversation be like if Salvador Dali invited you to sit down for some coffee. What did Cole Porter’s songs sound like when he sang them at parties? How drunk was Hemmingway?
We know their work, but getting a insider glimpse at what their personal lives might have been like is pure entertainment.