Movie #72 2020: Midnight In Paris (2011)

I recognise that it is a shame to praise Woody Allen in this day and age, but surely it’s better to watch his movies and still detest his ethics as a human being than not watch them at all? In that case, I’m going to review this movie as I would any other, but just have it on the back burner that he’s not an okay person.

First off… what a fucking long opening montage. Obviously each and every one of Midnight in Paris’ opening shots is beautiful, but wow. Way to extend the run time, dude.

As much as I wish Allen didn’t write and direct this, I can’t deny that his style is unmistakable. Some see this style as ”lazy”, but if I’m honest, I kind of love it. His minimalistic way of shooting is more unique today than it would have been thirty years ago, as he opts to use master shots in many sequences. I don’t think of that as lazy, I think of that as time-preserving and accessible. Allen chooses this style of shot chiefly because it means that his actors can get scenes done in less takes, and they don’t have to shoot dialogue from multiple angles, which is a common staple of most modern film and television features. It also keeps things more realistic and true to life. Because guess what? You don’t always get to see things from multiple angles in the real world, and Allen does a brilliant job of capturing that without obstructing the audience’s voyeurism.

While we’re on the subject of actors, this cast is magnificent. The only other director I can think of who attracts such a large ensemble is Wes Anderson (and Quentin Tarantino at a push). Midnight in Paris comes with a plethora of ‘movie stars’ – Kathy Bates, Corey Stoll, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody – and every one of them is cast appropriately and gives a brilliant performance. Bates is particularly effective as the gaudy art dealer (who knew she could speak French?!), and Rachel McAdams’ jealous girlfriend act is almost as brilliant as her performance in Mean Girls. If anything, her character in this is basically a grown-up Regina George, proving that she can still play that bitch even when she is known nowadays for her more wholesome roles.

The plot is aptly quirky – as most Woody films are – but somehow misses the mark by the time you finish the movie. I do feel as though its events could have been wrapped up more comprehensively, as this is one of those films that tends to just end all of a sudden. However, although the way the plot is handled isn’t the greatest, its unique subject matter makes up for it in originality.

To summarise, this is not a movie that overwhelmed with its brilliance as much as some of the other films I have reviewed did. Despite that, it is still a solid entry into the Allen echelon. (Don’t forget that he’s a dickhead though).

I watched Midnight in Paris on DVD, which you can get for £1.99 (with free delivery) on However, it is also available to rent on the Sky Store for £3.49 if you can’t wait that long.

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