Not a Woody Allen fan? That’s okay – me neither, but don’t avoid this film on his behalf because you would be doing yourself a great disservice.
Owen Wilson plays a guy who abandoned his dream of living in Paris and writing a Great Novel many years ago. Instead, he sold his soul to Hollywood as a screenwriter and earned great success. Several years later, he finds himself on a business trip to Paris with his fiancee’s parents, dream renewed, trying to convince Rachel McAdams to move their life to Paris so he can finally be the writer of novels he always wanted to be. Rachel is not too keen.
One evening Owen takes a lonely stroll through the Parisian streets, gets lost, and as the bells chime midnight is beckoned by a rowdy group of party-goers to join their escapades. Owen, thinking nothing of getting into a strange 1920s car with drunk people, climbs aboard and sets off back into 1920s Paris. He does this time travel several nights – meeting the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and wife, Zelda, Hemingway, Dali, Picasso, Cole Porter, and one lovely young lady he falls instantly in love with.
So who would appreciate this premise? I believe, almost anyone. The movie is a love story to Paris, the 1920s, the ‘Golden Age’ of thinking, Art, Music, and Literature. You’ll want to visit Paris immediately – the cinematography is gorgeous and does the city all kinds of justice. The lighting, the costuming, the writing – all very well done. You’ll be enthralled and delighted from the opening scene through the end credits.
Some have described the movie as a romantic comedy, but I feel the film is much more about Owen Wilson’s quest to appreciate the present through his love of the past. And for those who think the movie sounds a bit too ARTSY, the choice of having Owen Wilson play the lead counteracts any pretentiousness that could have existed – Owen is far too much the average guy – funny, humble, and sincere. Kudos to the casting peeps. Also, Rachel McAdams plays an alarmingly excellent vapid bitch of a woman.
Did the movie deserve its award nominations? Yes and no. I’m glad Allen won the writing Oscar as the script was super deserving and refreshingly original. However, I’m not sure the film was Best Picture material. The acting wasn’t amazing and nothing felt GREAT in the way that The Artist experimented with silent filming. The movie was a tad too ‘cute’ for such an honor, but an utter delight to watch nonetheless.