If you don’t like Woody Allen movies, stop reading right now. If you only like some Woody Allen movies, you might try continuing for a bit. We ourselves have Woody Allen movies we love and some we just don’t.
The new Woody Allen movie, ‘Midnight in Paris’, is, in our opinions, a true delight. It opened to intriguing reviews , but in very limited showings at very limited places, and we thought, “Oh, rats,” although we should know by now that limited openings are a common ploy when a movie is not a blockbuster. Now, we don’t have a thing against blockbusters; we are devotees of the Harry Potter series and are so looking forward to the new movie in July, and we found the new Spielberg/Abrams movie, ‘Super 8’, to be absolutely smashing, in every sense of the word. ‘Super 8’ has just about everything – terrific actors, an alien menace, and a layered story about coming of age and the amazing connection gap that occurs between children and parents right at the time (adolescence) when such a gap can cause the most pain. On the other hand, beware of ‘Thor’; it had a lot of the same components as ‘Super 8’, but as they say in Texas, “It just don’t work too good.”
Now back to Woody’s movie. This movie stars Owen Wilson, who is not a particular favorite of ours, but who is perfect for the part he plays in this. In fact everyone seems wonderfully well-cast, including the City of Paris. This has got to be one of Mr. Allen’s most imaginative films and the story is inventive and the scenes are set so beautifully that if one were impulsive (and rich, and not afraid to fly), one would pack a bag and just go. Of course, most of us don’t stay in the sort of Parisian hotel that has fresh flowers and lavish breakfast trolleys and all that ‘life of the affluent’ background, but that just makes the movie pretty. It’s the story and the actors who tell the story that are the true delight. This movie has everyone, from F. Scott Fitzgerald and his Zelda to a couple of the royal residents of Versailles. And one particularly funny scene involving the latter.
As for us, we found the ‘limited release’ had expanded to a local theater and we found ourselves seeing places in Paris we had actually been, all the while rooting for the hero to wake up and realize who the heroine should be, and enjoying one of those wonderful Woody Allen soundtracks all along the way. A really perfect way to spend a too-hot summer afternoon, if you can’t go to Paris. Sigh.