FILM REVIEW: Midnight in Paris (12)

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Following his European jaunts around England and Spain, writer-director Woody Allen says bonjour to Paris for his new romantic comedy, his 41st movie.

Disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) is contemplating giving up his life behind the film cameras to fulfil his literary aspirations and pen his first novel, after jetting out to the French capital on holiday with beautiful fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her conservative parents (Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy).

But he faces doubt from his other half as well as his in-laws-to-be, who disapprove of his decision and dismiss his dreams as frivolous.

“You’re in love with a fantasy,” she says, to which he replies: “I’m in love with you.”

The couple have a random encounter with Inez’s former crush Paul (Michael Sheen), an obnoxious intellectual who pretends to be a know-it-all, and his wife Carol (Nina Arianda).

One night, when Paul offers to take Inez dancing, Gil takes the opportunity to escape and winds up down a side street after taking a wrong turn. When midnight strikes, he gladly accepts a lift from a stopping car full of drunken Frenchmen, only to discover it has magically transported him back to the 1920s.

There, he hobnobs with the cultural icons of the era including F Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and his wife and muse, Zelda (Alison Pill), has a drink with Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), and discusses philosophy with Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody).

He even hands over his novel to Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), and meets Cole Porter (Yves Heck).

Swept up by the nostalgia and romanticism of yesteryear, Gil returns for his fix night after night, and romances Picasso’s latest muse Adriana (Marion Cotillard), intent that Inez is having an affair with Paul.

Opening with an extended montage of Parisian sights in the rain against a jazz background, Allen’s latest offering is full of nostalgia, and while it lacks the satisfaction of previous films Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Manhattan, it’s Allen at his sentimental best.

Review by Shereen Low

:: NO SWEARING :: NO SEX :: NO VIOLENCE :: RATING: 6/10

Released: October 7 (UK & Ireland), 94 mins