The Dendy Cinemas in Newtown is a good outlet for artsy and independent films as well as a healthy mix of blockbuster hits and guy movies thrown in to suit the tastes of Newtownies.
The theatre space is small but comfortable and the popcorn and drinks not overpriced. Though I must admit that the popcorn is of inferior quality with plenty un-popped ones in the bucket.
As for the feature presentation, I must thank Woody Allen or whoever the casting director is for choosing Owen Wilson for the role of the lead. Owen Wilson as the lead definitely helped make the chick-flickishly titled ‘Midnight in Paris’ an easy sell to my boyfriend. What’s more, Rachel McAdams, who was with Owen Wilson in the Wedding Crashers, is in the role of the fiancee of Owen Wilson’s character Gil. In the beginning of the film I told my boyfriend to assume this was the sequel to “Wedding Crashers”. This worked well until we got to the point with the artist/thinker/painter/director name-dropping.
The film is about Gil, Hollywood screenwriter who’s ready to give it all up to produce literary genius. Gil is a Francophil, who’s on the left-wing of the American political spectrum whereas, his fiancée, Inez’s people are comfortably situated on the right side. There’s already tension with Inez’s parents and Gil and what’s more Inez wants Gil to continue on doing what he’s comfortable with so they can live in that house in Malibu. Gil is having an existential crises and he wants to leave a more substantial legacy than sure-fire Hollywood hits.
One night when Inez offers to go dancing with her friends Paul, a pseudo-intellectual, and his wife Carol, Gil declines saying he’s too drunk. As he tries to walk back to the hotel, he gets lost. At the strike of midnight an old Model T car picks him up and takes him to a party where he meets Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald.
The Fitzgeralds take him to meet Ernest Hemingway, who agrees to show his book to Gertrude Stein.
In his journeys to the past during the next few nights Gil has Gertrude Stein critiquing his novel and he works on making the changes she suggests. He also meets Picasso and Picasso’s alluring mistress, Adriana, a student of couture from Bordeaux.
There are glistening and plentiful sprinkles of colourful pop culture references and cameo roles by Carla Bruni, French president Sarkozy’s wife topping this cupcake of a movie.
The major theme running throughout is that our present is never satisfying because it is all too real. No matter when we lived, we are all a little disenchanted with our present. Even if we did live in the Gilded age, the roaring 20’s, if that’s our reality and present we may want to take a leap back in time to say the 1890s. At one point Adriana is taken back to the Maxim of 1890s with Gil and she states how much more exciting the 1890s are and that that’s the era she wants to live in. Gil has a hard time understanding this, after all in the 1920s there are such pivotal figures as Bunuel, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. But to Adriana, that’s everyday life.
Owen Wilson in the lead is a good touch. Instantly we have someone likable to identify with. Sure he’s smart but he’s not a jerk about it. As with Woody Allen’s later films, the visual ogling of the European city is plentiful and I for one felt the magic of a night in Paris right in Newtown, a spot that couldn’t be geographically and culturally further from our reference point. Visually and intellectually the film works well. What’s more, my boyfriend liked it and that’s success.