Now, he has another, “Midnight in Paris.” Here, he gets to meet a lot of his favorite late great legendary artists, writers, musicians, and even filmmakers, who once walked the streets and frequented the cafés of Paris, particularly during the Lost Generation between the world wars.
Aging Allen doesn’t play himself anymore. He has younger actors do it. In this case, his alter-ego is Owen Wilson. He’s Gil, a successful screenwriter in Paris with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), trying to find inspiration to leap from Hollywood hack to major American novelist.
This is where the Rod Serling-type magic comes in. While Inez is off one night with pseudo-intellectual professor Paul (Michael Sheen), Gil sulks on a Parisian street as the clock strikes twelve. An antique auto pulls up and he’s welcomed in. Arriving at a swinging soirée, he meets a couple, who introduce themselves as, “Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald” (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill).
Before long, Gil is drinking with a mustached man named Ernest, as in Hemingway (Corey Stoll). And on and on: Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), you name it. While the depictions of the immortals are a bit cartoonish, Allen is obviously having fun and it’s infectious. He also adds a “Forrest Gump” element. When Hemingway asks Gil what he thinks of Mark Twain, Gil spouts the perception that all modern American literature comes from a book called, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” an observation attributed to Hemingway.
Gil drops Inez and stays in Paris, in his dream city and his dream world. And, Woody stays in the Twilight Zone.