There are only few directors who can pull you into their stories with simple plots and immaculate dialogues. One of the greatest in last 40 years is Woody Allen, who with his brittle and sharp language can either make you fall in love with his movies or force you to never come back. Fortunately I'm the one who will see each movie he makes, because with every new one I see, it makes me search for more. And after this one, I finally understand what makes one director so appreciated and acclaimed. Maybe I can recognise myself in some of his characters, surely I can imagine myself in the perfection of the towns he chooses for his setting, but without any doubt I can relate to the art he puts into everything he does.
Here we have two fiances who come to Paris. He is a writer who dreams of rainy Paris in the twenties and fantasizes about moving there. She is a spoiled rich daddy's little girl who enjoys fancy dinners and snobbish friends who know everything about anything. They meet her parents and some friends in the city of love, where their adventures begin. Well, his actually. Gil seeks inspiration for his novel, always refusing to ask for someone's advice or ideas about his handwriting. One beautiful night, after having dinner with his fiance Inez and their two friends, Gil decides to take a stroll through numerous Parisian streets and alleys, decisively refusing Inez's suggestions to take a taxi. In the end, he ends up lost and decides to rest. The church bell rings midnight and a beautiful old car stops in front of him and a group of people makes him enter the car. Without thinking a lot, Gil accepts the invitation and immediately realizes that he' s in company of some of the most famous artists of the twenties. He spends the night of his life, witnessing the brilliance of his writing idols, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But something is weird. The moment he gets out of the ballroom, the city is again normal. The next day, he tries to convince Inez to wait for the car, but after spending the evening on the stairs, she takes a taxi and gets back to the hotel. And then, the clock strikes midnight and everything is same as yesterday. Every night, Gil spends his time with eccentric artists, such as Picasso, Stein and Dali and with every new day he becomes more obsessed with his favourite era and people he admired his whole life. He even falls in love with a beautiful, messy young woman, a muse of many writers and painters of her time and his reality starts to become dreary and boring to him, except the short periods when he listens to translations of his secret crush's memoires, written in the twenties and enjoying Cole Porter's song in front of the shop where he meets a girl who understands his love for this music.
I could not imagine a better city to put this movie in than Paris. After Amelie, one the most colourful and visually stunning movies, this city again shows its grandiosity and , makes the perfect setting for this wonderful fairytale-like movie. It breathes art, you can feel it on every corner, you can here accordians, violins and pianos playing and you can literally memorize every picture like a painting. Allen knew it when he decided to move from Barcelona and London and settle his characters here, to experience the most beautiful secrets of the most romantic city in the whole world.
And once again, his choice of actors is flawless. Owen Wilson is wonderful as a naive, artistic young man who still believes in beauty and romanticizes of someone who will share his dreams with him. Rachel McAdams is beautifully irritating as his fiance Inez and Marion Cotillard is magical as always. She simply owns each scene she's in. But the supporting actors are what makes this movie even better. Kathy Bates as G. Stein or Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali and an array of other actors who come and go won't let you forget this one for a long time.
As a great devotee of travelling and art of any kind, this movie moved me in so many different ways. I was filled with delight, fascination, love and peace. I couldn't keep smiling throughout its every minute. Its dialogues are smart and funny and don't allow you to rest a minute. But who would even want to rest in this medley of lights, music and life. In the end, this movie has an important message which might make you question yourselves, your thoughts and actions. And even if you're not a big fan of Woody Allen, this gem of his might make you change your mind. But even if it doesn't, I think you won't regret these 90 minutes, because if you like any kind of art, you will find yourself here, because this is art in art.
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