Midnight in Paris is a 2013 film that generated a lot of critical verbiage about Woody Allen’s take on nostalgia. A longing for the “good old days” – referred to by one of those trademarked Woody Allen pedantic-prick characters as the “golden age fallacy“, drives a time travel tale about Gil, an American writer.
Gil is in Paris in our time, but he longs for the Paris of the 1920’s, with the Lost Generation. He gets there because Paris is magic, maybe a tad more so at midnight. There he meets everyone — Hemingway, Stein, Picasso, Dali and more. He also meets Adrianna, an art groupie who falls for him in the 1920’s, though she also longs for her idea of the Golden Age. She wants to get back to La Belle Époque: the 1890’s. When she does, she decides to stay, once Edgar Degas recruits her to design ballet costumes. Gil returns to the modern age (via the 1920’s?) and decides to stay in Paris. Just as well, his fiancee is a shallow twit who sleeps with the pedantic-prick dude at the drop of a hat, and her parents are odious Rethuglicans who think the TEA Party folks are very nice… but would never invite any to their Malibu beach house.
The whole movie is an hour and a half to tell maybe 40 minutes’ worth of story, so why does it exist? My operative theory now, after two viewings: it’s straight up Paris porn. And it works. After seeing it again, I want to go back even more.