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Midnight in Paris


Stars: Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill

Director: Woody Allen

A Woody Allen film of slight, fragile charm, with Wilson's line readings sounding just like Woody's (and he has the same plaintive tones), as Gil, a Hollywood hack on holiday in Paris, beset both by a nagging fiancee, Inez (McAdams) and a nagging feeling that his Great Novel needs some serious re-writing.

Cheesed off with both Inez and her patronising parents and friends, Gil wanders back towards his hotel alone, gets lost and ends up on some roadside steps at midnight. An old-fashioned car packed with revellers pulls up, hauls him in - and transports him to another era - the 1920s.

Here he encounters many of the city's most famous patrons: Scott Fitzgerald and his troubled wife Zelda (Hiddleston, Pill), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Cole Porter (Yves Heck), Salvador Dali (Brody) and more - as well as the bewitching Adriana (Cotillard), with whom he falls in love. This has no future, of course, as Adriana is also a time traveller and wants to live in the 'Belle Epoque' of the 1890s.

It's a wisp of a plot, but dialogue that could have only been written by Allen, together with engaging performances by Wilson and Cotillard, maintain the interest off and on. Atmospherically shot on location by Darius Khondji, the film is pleasant company if little more. And yes, that is the French president's wife Carla Bruni as a museum guide.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Quinta Industries.
93 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 01 Oct 2011