It's no secret to those who know me that I am a massive fan of Ernest Hemingway. I think I have read A Moveable Feast at least three times in the last year! And I, like many wanna-be writers often fantasise about living in Paris, and imagine myself sitting at small table on a cobblestone sidewalk nursing a glass of red wine as I contemplate my next great work.
So, you can imagine my surprise and absolute delight when I went to see Woody Allen's latest film, Midnight in Paris, a supposedly romantic comedy about a couple who travels to Paris - only to find Mr. Hemingway himself along with all the other great writers who lived in Paris around the same time – F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein to name some key names. Even the artist Pablo Picasso befriends the main character during his strange midnight adventures.
The premise of this film seems quite simple on the surface; a successful yet disgruntled Hollywood screenplay writer and his partner travel to Paris only to realise they are not quite right for each other. But this film was far more complicated - as one would come to hope for and expect from Woody Allen.
The main character, our writer friend, is portrayed as a whiny romantic who escapes his reality by dreaming about the Paris of the 1920s. Not being a fan of Owen Wilson, I found him particularly annoying and did not think that there would be a happy ending for his character at all.
When he begins his midnight adventures and travels back in time to spend entire nights with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein and Picasso, I thought – this guy is on drugs! I wanted to slap him as hard as I could, to help snap him out of his delusion and this is exactly what his partner kept trying to do too.
After spending many nights in the 1920s and his days wondering if he might actually be crazy – the movie ends well – and I won't go into too much detail in case you want to see it for yourself.
What I will say is this - fantasy is the denial of our reality. It's a sign that something is not right with our present, but sometimes we cannot see our present as clearly as we see our fantasies. It is through our fantasies that we can safely explore a better present until we are ready to make changes in reality.
I still do not like Owen Wilson, but I really enjoyed this film and I can't wait until it comes out on DVD!