Zut alors! After the awful depths of “Match Point” and “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger”, Woody Allen has finally made a good and funny flm that will remind you of why you used to like him.
This is not “Manhattan”, “Annie Hall” or even “Sleeper”. But Woody seems to get Paris in a way that he never gets London. In capturing the magic of Paris, Woody finally gets some redemption songs.
Our hero, Gil (Owen Wilson) is a conflicted writer who has come to Paris with his fiancee Inez, played by Canadian Rachel McAdams. Her father is there on business and they are on a “tag along” vacation.
I always knew Michael Sheen could be a comedy genius but he really excels here as the precious pedant Paul. I hope he gets a lot more of this kind of verbal play role which seems to be made for him .
Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy play the parents. The supporting roles feature really lovely performances from Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Carla Bruni and Adrien Brody. For me, the best of all, apart from Sheen, is the glorious Lea Seydoux who steals every scene she is in.
Seeing France’s first lady as a museum guide does give you a little moment of “wow, that’s really her”.
The rather gorgeous conceit in the plot is the idea that there are portals to other eras tha you can find when you wander around Paris after midnight. I don’t want to give the story away, because you really should see this.
Rarely have Cole Porter’s music and Picasso’s painting been so integral to a plot. I thoroughly enjoyed the 94 minutes this lasted and it seems that Woody still has the capacity to make really good movies.
There is quite a lot of standard Woody stuff about the meaning of art, love and time. It’s all adorable and filled with sumptuous scenes of Paris.
Glorious cinematography makes you long for more time in Paris. It’s a happy movie and you will come our smiling.
The audience purred with pleasure and chatted happily afterwards. Few films offer the unalloyed joy of this.
Do see it.