To be honest Woody Allen had lost me as a fan. I haven’t liked a film of his since Mighty Aphrodite, and I haven’t loved a film of his since Bullets Over Broadway. Well, I’m back. Here, the iconic director takes a simple romantic comedy and unites it brilliantly with an existential crisis—all in the most beautiful city in the world. Many Woody Allen fans consider Annie Hall to be his love letter to New York City. This certainly would be his love letter to the City of Lights.
Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are engaged and vacationing in Paris. The inspirational setting forces Gil to confront the fact that he is a hack screenwriter who has never written anything of substance. Unhappy in his current existence, Gil longs for the Paris of the ’20s, the Paris of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Then on a midnight walk one night, Gil gets a magical chance to catch a glimpse of life in another era.
I don’t want to tell you too much because the surprises of Gil’s after-hours walks are half the fun. Suffice it to say, it’s intelligent without being pretentious and it’s romantic without being sappy. Tremendous performances all around, particularly Wilson, whose timing is impeccable, and Adrien Brody with a charming, if brief, cameo. LN