Monday, March 31, 2014

Romantic Film Review - Midnight in Paris

I'm not sure what to say about Woody Allen's films anymore. Since the letter from Dylan Farrow appeared in the New York Times and began with "What's your favorite Woody Allen film?" I have felt very differently about Woody Allen, a director I used to love to watch. As a female, there have been many things about Allen's films that didn't sit well with me - I didn't like Mariel Hemmingway's youth in Manhattan and I really hated the way Allen's manipulations of her were so celebrated. Manhattan has always been a film about a certain kind of emotional abuse, and I've never properly understood why it is so popular. Then there is the really appalling Everything You Wanted to know About Sex but were too Afraid to Ask, that includes a comic scene about boy scouts pack raping a woman and a Jewish man force feeding his wife pork as part of its comic routines.

It raises very difficult questions about the separation between film and film maker, and yet I know that deep down something has changed for me. One of my favourite Woody Allen films is Midnight in Paris - its such a great film if you are a writer, Woody Allen isn't in it, and Léa Seydoux is in it, and Owen Wilson is absolutely delicious (am I the only one who thinks he is unbearably hot?) in it. But Woody Allen is still there, in the writing, and the very framework of the film, and unfortunately its one of the reasons I like it so much, because despite what he has allegedly done and despite how many times he offends me, when he gets it right, the films touch a sweet spot deep inside that triggers a feeling of deep joy. 

Midnight in Paris isn't a conventional romance, in that the romance is a sub-plot, but at the same time it is a film that is always and only about love - love of words, love of work, love of a city, and the mystery of trying to work out who we are meant to love and who we are meant to be with. 

I'm not sure if it displays great weakness in me, because if I have to "pick a side" my gut and my heart goes with Dylan Farrow, but I know that I won't stop watching Woody Allen's films - at least not the one's I like - and I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad. 

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