I think the rest of the family showed better judgement in their entertainment choices. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is Woody Allen's self-indulgent trip through 70's morality. The entire story hinges on concepts and cultural beliefs which are so tremendously out of date it's bizarre to watch and equally bizarre that this film was nominated, and won, Academy Awards.
No, wait, I take that back. Most of the members of the Academy are the same age as Mr Allen so they probably share the same values. Anyway, I will detail below what I think dates this film so dramatically, but first I want to say that the actors in this film obviously had a blast being in it. As much as I disliked the writing, there is value in a pack of friends getting together to delight in the process of acting and collaborating with each other.
|Adrian Brody alone is enough reason to have made this film|
WHY THIS MOVIE IS REALLY SET IN THE 70'S
1. Television is Good These Days
Gil and his fiancee are in Paris with her parents on a vacation and Gil talks about how he wants to get out of writing for television and instead to write his novel. He complains about being a hack writer and wants to write a novel because that would be the pinnacle of artistic expression. Because those little shows like "Lost", or "The Wire", or "The Sopranos", or "Arrested Development", or "Mad Men", or "24", or "30 Rock", or"Firefly" are terrible shows? I mean, sure Gil might be working on the next Flavor Flav reality show but in today's environment, writing for television is not something to be ashamed of. Televison is cool. Television can be great. Novels can be self-published and released on Amazon.com for $.99.
2. Gil Idolizes the 1920's
Really? The 1920's? Who do you know who is obsessed with the 1920's? Do you know what era folks are obsessed with? The 1960's. The 1960's are roughly 50 years in the past from 2012. The 1920's are roughly 50 years in the past from the 1970's. I don't know anyone in their 30's who obsesses over Lost Generation jazz, style, literature, or art but I do know a LOT of folks who wear modified beehives, collect mid-century ashtrays, and watch Mad Men religiously.
|This is a CURRENT ad campaign for Ray Ban.|
3. No One Uses Their Smart Phones
Seriously? If you were magically transported to the 1920's, wouldn't you be taking some photos? Maybe feel sad you couldn't facebook the experience? Would you, perhaps, call or text your girlfriend while wandering through the streets of a strange city so she knows you are alright?
|This is a normal visit with friends.|
4. Gil Carries Around Valium In His Pockets
The casual dispensing of downer meds, particularly that 70's standby, Valium, is SO drug culture/disco 70's that I was shocked to see it in the film. Valium? If you are on meds for anxiety, you are probably on a psychotropic once-a-day med which stays in your bathroom. If anything, one would be on Xanax, and that's a 12 hour drug. Valium is for 70's housewives.
|Who look EXACTLY like this lady.|
5. His Girlfriend and Her Mother Discuss Spending $15,000 On A Chair
Yes, it's supposed to be a joke to demonstrate the crass materialism of his fiancee's family but it's weird. We live in 2012, where no one is sure to have a job no matter what education you have. Folks my age aren't buying houses because the job market is so unstable. Buying a chair for the cost of a nice-ish car is not only unrealistic but sets the wrong tone. Crass materialism isn't cool these days, crass materialism disguised as green technology and upcycled products is. If Woody Allen had any idea of what the world is really like, he would have had the fiancee and her mother cooing over a chair made from old West African boat parts, assembled in a sweatshop, and shipped to Paris at extreme cost. Showing the conflict between someone's stated value of fair-trade industry and then watching them spend thoughtlessly is far more 2012.
|THIS is a chair you would pay a lot of money for in Paris, and it's shipped there from West Africa.|
6. His Girlfriend Casually Sleeps With Another Man While They Are On Vacation
It's just weird. Unless they are in an open relationship, but that would require them both to communicate with each other, which they don't do. Which is also weird.
7. In The End He Is Rewarded For His Bohemian Values By Getting The Girl
Because when you are betrayed by your fiancee and walk out of a hotel room jobless, homeless, and bereft of human company, OBVIOUSLY you are ready to start a relationship with another woman. In fact Gil DESERVES a woman as a "prize" for... something? Being honest for once in his life? Ignoring the fact that nostalgia is a way for us to process our current generation through the safe distance of a previous generation's style? Or perhaps it's just because the actress Lea Seydoux
looks exactly like Annie Hall.
That ratty center-parted hair practically screams 1970's. Good thing that's when this movie was really written.