Such a sentiment has never been more true than when expressed in Woody Allen’s latest offering. The quality of his more recent films has notably declined from his output of the 70′s, but Allen has returned with a wonderful, funny story and solid characters. Owen Wilson is Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter seeking a new career as a literary writer. Tagging along to Paris with his snobby fiancee and her parents, he discovers a decadent and romantic world he has always wanted to be a part of – literally.
Although transporting characters to a previous time is a difficult and often perilous move, the film proves that nearly any idea can materialise nicely in the hands of a talented and knowledgeable director. To carry off the trick plot line with ease, strong character actors are a must and Allen has managed to secure the cream of the miniscule, modern Hollywood crop.
Wilson is well cast and convincing as the bumbling, naive Gil and works well against his haughty fiancee Inez, played by Rachel McAdams. Other star turns include Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein and Marion Cotillard as Adriana, a beautiful ingenue who captures Gil’s heart. Corey Stoll is remarkable as the deadpan, yet brilliant Hemingway, and Carla Bruni also pops up in an amusing cameo. Other supporting characters to watch out for are Alison Pill and Tom Hiddleston as Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald and a surprising performance from Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali.
Cinematography is key in this film and is one truly spectacular element. The scenes are lit in a semi-gloom that is redolent of 1920′s Parisian postcards and artwork. The makeup and wardrobe styling adds a strong feeling of thought and care given to recreation of an extraordinary time and era. Anyone who can succeed in making Paris appear more beautiful than it is in reality has achieved something quite special. Overall, Woody has made a film that it’s difficult to fault and that is quite simply the only criticism I have of it!
All Rights Reserved © Copyright 2011 Michelle Lacey (Michelle Ní Láitheása).