Writer/Director: Woody Allen
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12
UK Release date: 7th October 2011
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 8th December 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Highly praised by the critics and awarded the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay for Woody Allen; I really couldn’t pass this one up when it premiered on TV this week. I was a little sceptical having seen a couple of Allen’s more recent works and being a tad less than impressed, but I needn’t have worried. It seems those critics do get it right now and then and I have to say I really enjoyed this one. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Gil (Owen Wilson) is a writer; he has been to Paris in the past and loves the place; his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), hasn’t. She doesn’t share his love of the city and in particular doesn’t get his fixation with Paris in the 1920’s. Her parents, John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy) are also there, partly on business and partly to help with wedding plans. They meet some friends of Inez, Paul (Michael Sheen) and Carol (Nina Arianda), who insist on taking them out so Paul can show off his extensive knowledge of the city. Gil finds it all terribly dull and decides to walk back to their hotel one night. He gets lost as pauses at the side of a particular street as the church clock chimes midnight. An old car comes up the road and a group of revellers persuade him to come with them. He find himself in a bar talking to the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill) and even Ernest Hemmingway (Corey Stoll). Oh, and there’s a girl (there’s always a girl), Adriana (Marion Cotillard). He is in the 1920’s Paris he always dreamed of, but how? And what lies around the corner?... Guess I’d better leave it there.
We begin with shots of Paris (yes, some of them in the rain) and I think I’m looking at a travelogue; but I’m wrong. Once it gets going this film is very witty and even whimsical at times, and I really enjoyed it. Woody Allen’s writing is spot on here with some great dialogue and some marvellous characters. The plot has just the right amount of mystery to keep me interested and even has some important points about living your life in the past. All the performances were excellent with Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard getting top marks from me. Over all I found it very entertaining, amusing and even a little profound in places… Well worth a look!
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.5/10
IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 143,813 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 81/100: (Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 82/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 69,870 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Gil: This is unbelievable! Look at this! There's no city like this in the world. There never was.
Inez: You act like you've never been here before.
Gil: I don't get here often enough, that's the problem. Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the '20s. Paris in the '20s, in the rain. The artists and writers!
Inez: Why does every city have to be in the rain? What's wonderful about getting wet?
Gil: I'm having trouble because I'm a Hollywood hack who never gave real literature a shot.
Gil: Yes, but you're a surrealist! I'm a normal guy!
Gil: Gil Pender.
Ernest Hemingway: Hemingway.
Ernest Hemingway: You liked my book?
Gil: Liked? I loved all of your work.
Ernest Hemingway: Yes. It was a good book because it was an honest book, and that's what war does to men. And there's nothing fine and noble about dying in the mud unless you die gracefully. And then it's not only noble but brave.
Gil: What is it with this city? I need to write a letter to the Chamber of Commerce.
Gil: I would like you to read my novel and get your opinion.
Ernest Hemingway: I hate it.
Gil: You haven't even read it yet.
Ernest Hemingway: If it's bad, I'll hate it. If it's good, then I'll be envious and hate it even more. You don't want the opinion of another writer.
Gil: 500 francs for a Matisse? Yeah I think that sounds fair! You know, I wonder if actually I can pick up 6 or 7?
Man Ray: A man in love with a woman from a different era. I see a photograph!
Luis Buñuel: I see a film!
Gil: I see insurmountable problem!
Salvador Dalí: I see rhinoceros!