Sunday, October 2, 2022


May 20, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

If critics have not fallen in love with Woody Allen again with his latest movie Midnight in Paris — which opens this weekend in New York and Los Angeles — they have at least proposed a rapprochement. Consider Kenneth Turan’s opening words in his review in the Los Angeles Times: “Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write again: Woody Allen has made a wonderful new picture, Midnight in Paris, and it’s his best, most enjoyable work in years. If you’re surprised to be reading that, think how I feel writing it. I’ve been a tough sell on the past dozen or so Allen films.” With Midnight in Paris, A.O. Scott writes in the New York Times, “Mr. Allen has gracefully evaded the trap built by his grouchy admirers and unkind critics — I’m not alone in fitting both descriptions — who complain when he repeats himself and also when he experiments. Not for the first time, but for the first time in a while, he has found a credible blend of whimsy and wisdom.” In the film, Owen Wilson’s character imagines himself transported through his nostalgia back to the Paris of earlier generations when the city was the mecca of great artists and authors — and encountering them all — Dali, Cocteau, Picasso, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, etc. Noting that Allen has said that he does not expect his films to have the lasting quality of great filmmakers, Scott remarks that Midnight in Paris “suggests otherwise: Not an ambition toward immortality so much as a willingness to leave something behind … that catches the attention and solicits the admiration of lonely wanderers in some future time.” Rex Reed in the New York Observer notes that Allen remains “an artist brimming with vitality and imagination, always ready to explore new ideas. When they work, the screen lights up like a Yuletide tree in Rockefeller Center, and Midnight in Paris works in spades — diamonds, clubs and hearts, too. It’s his best movie in years, and 94 minutes of total enchantment.” Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal calls the movie “beguiling and then bedazzling” with Allen offering “inspired nonsense with the casual aplomb of an absurdist; it’s all so silly, and such wonderful fun.”