Thursday, December 20, 2012

Midnight in Paris

Last night, my mom and I watched Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson. It's a Woody Allen film, which really tells you just about everything you need to know about it.

The basic premise of the movie is that the protagonist, Gil (Wilson), is dissatisfied with his life and imagines a better world/time/ Paris in the 1920s. He somehow time travels back to that era and meets a number of cultural icons of the time, including Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, and Picasso.

In his real life, Gil is surrounded by some really annoying people  one of them being his fiance, with whom he has no real chemistry.

During one of his time travel/fantasy escapades (the movie isn't clear on exactly what is he really traveling in time, is it his really doesn't matter), he and Picasso/Hemingway's lover Adriana travel further back in time, to Paris in the 1890s, which Adriana thinks is preferable to Paris in the 1920s. It is this experience that awakens Gil to the fact that the present is always less pleasant than the past seems because life isn't always pleasant, but that a person shouldn't try to live their life in the past.

Gil returns to the present, decides to live in Paris, breaks up with his fiance, and presumably lives happily ever after, or at least happier ever after.

I enjoyed the  movie. It was good, but not great, but on another level, I found it relatable. I mean, who hasn't been dissatisfied with their life, or some aspect of it, and imagined themselves in a better time or place? The Virginia in my imagination is taller, thinner, and has way better skin and hair.

I think this is also the premise behind fan fiction (or at least one of the premises) fiction allows the reader to insert him or her self into the story, and therefore allows the reader to escape their own life for a while, yet to do so in a way that they still control.

In the movie, what was more unbelievable to me, wasn't that Gil was managing to travel back in time, it was that no one in his present life seemed to understand this sense of yearning for something more/fuller/bigger that comes from feeling unfulfilled. I mean, isn't that just human nature? Otherwise, how would we grow at all?

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