He couldn't have come up with a better scheme--unless he actually packed me a bag and met me after work with two round trip tickets to the city itself. An English major who minored in art and can't get enough of Paris, I was utterly delighted by the film.
Of all my happy places, Paris is probably the happiest. Admittedly, just as protagonist Gil Pender's vision of The City of Light in the 20s is blurred by nostalgia, my own picture of my favorite city is tempered by distance and the fact that when I'm there, it's for a limited time. I don't have to deal with reality or paperwork or the famous French bureaucracy.
One of the criticisms leveled against the movie is that it over-romanticizes the city, and takes away all of its rough edges--the same was said about Amelie about 10 years ago, and I've heard a similar scoffing about my rose-colored view of Paris from a French ex-boyfriend who hated the place (can you imagine?).
But I think those critics (and my ex-boyfriend) are missing the point. A film like Midnight in Paris should be devoured like a box of macarons--sweet and airy confections, not to be taken too seriously. A fleeting moment of pleasure. We can eat our vegetables later.
We all need our "happy places" where we can escape either for a few weeks or just for a few moments as we wander the streets in our mind's eye.
The soul needs a vacation from the mundane and the difficult from time to time. The happy place--whether it's a Jane Austen novel, a Matisse painting, or a romanticized post-card perfect Paris--provides this escape.
Photos from Heidi Diaz
What's your happy place?