DVD review | Midnight in Paris – A champagne comedy to toast Woody’s return to form

Woody Allen seemed to have lost his fizz as a filmmaker of late – and then he uncorked the sparkling Midnight in Paris, a comic fantasy with all the effervescence of vintage champagne.

He has a new leading man this time, and one who couldn’t be further removed from the nervy urbanites who are his usual onscreen stand-ins. Yet Owen Wilson, with his laidback, aw shucks demeanour, proves a surprisingly good fit for the story, and carries off its whimsical conceit.

He’s a Hollywood screenwriter and would-be novelist who reckons his life would have been better if only he could have lived in 1920s Paris alongside his cultural idols. Then, on holiday in Paris with his wealthy fiancée (Rachel McAdams), he gets picked up by a chauffeur-driven vintage Peugeot while taking a solitary nighttime stroll and finds himself magically whisked back in time to the era of his dreams.

There he bumps into the likes of F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Salvador Dali and Picasso, and falls for the latter’s beautiful mistress, Adriana (Marion Cotillard). He finds, however, that the people he meets also hark back to a previous golden age. Should he stop worshipping the past and make the most of the present?

Allen conveys all this with lightness, wit and charm, and he has great fun indulging his own nostalgia while gently sending-up his and our tendency to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses.

Released on DVD & Blu-ray on Monday 6th February by Warner Home Video.


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