In addition to the now-familiar Parisian scenery that characterized much of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, I was taken with the central message of this 90-minute movie: People living in every era think an earlier time was the Golden Age.
Midnight’s Gil (played by the lovable Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter who really wants to be a novelist and live in Paris While visiting there with his rather cold-hearted fiancée and her stick-in-the-mud parents, he wanders the streets alone each night and is magically transported back to the 1920s. The Lost Generation comes alive as Gil excitedly interacts with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali, Gertrude Stein and a stunning French woman named Adriana—who herself longs to be living in the 1890s, despite Gil’s protests that she already resides in the best of times.
Gil finally has an epiphany; that by yearning for the past, he is missing out on possibilities that are close at hand. In the end he chooses to follow his passions and makes some tough choices, the River Seine in the backdrop as a metaphor for his freshly-flowing perspective.
I’ve been fascinated by certain historical eras, although I’ve never really wished I was living in another time. My energy tends to get diverted more toward regretting that I didn’t make certain choices in earlier decades of my own life. But this too is longing for something other than what is in the present moment, which for each of us is pregnant with those same possibilities.
By the way, the Cole Porter soundtrack is awesome.