Run time: 94 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th June 2011
Box Office USA: $56.8M
Box Office Worldwide: $70.3M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics
Production compaines: Pontchartrain Productions, Gravier Productions, Mediapro, Versátil Cinema, Televisió de Catalunya (TV3)
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 191 Rotten: 14
IMDB: 7.7 / 10
Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriter: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson as Gil, Rachel McAdams as Inez, Kurt Fuller as John, Mimi Kennedy as Helen, Michael Sheen as Paul, Nina Arianda as Carol, Carla Bruni as Museum Guide, Maurice Sonnenberg as Man at Wine Tasting, Thierry Hancisse as 1920's Partygoer, Audrey Fleurot as 1920's Partygoer, Marie-Sohna Conde as 1920's Partygoer (as Marie-Sohna Condé), Yves Heck as Cole Porter, Alison Pill as Zelda Fitzgerald, Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sonia Rolland as Joséphine Baker, Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway, Daniel Lundh as Juan Belmonte, Laurent Spielvogel as Antiques Dealer, Thérèse Bourou-Rubinsztein as Alice B. Toklas, Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein, Marcial Di Fonzo Bo as Pablo Picasso, Marion Cotillard as Adriana, Léa Seydoux as Gabrielle, Emmanuelle Uzan as Djuna Barnes, Adrien Brody as Salvador Dalí, Tom Cordier as Man Ray, Adrien de Van as Luis Buñuel, Serge Bagdassarian as Détective Duluc, Gad Elmaleh as Detective Tisserant, David Lowe as T.S. Eliot, Atmen Kelif as Hotel Doctor, Yves-Antoine Spoto as Henri Matisse, Laurent Claret as Leo Stein, Sava Lolov as Belle Époque Couple, Karine Vanasse as Belle Époque Couple, Catherine Benguigui as Maxim's Hostess, Vincent Menjou Cortes as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Olivier Rabourdin as Paul Gauguin, François Rostain as Edgar Degas, Marianne Basler as Versailles Royalty, Michel Vuillermoz as Versailles Royalty
Blocked writer Gil (Wilson) is visiting Paris with his wife Inez (McAdams) and her high-achieving parents (Fuller and Kennedy). When they run into Inez's know-it-all ex (Sheen), Gil starts having second thoughts about everything. He also begins to wish he'd lived in Paris in the artistic heyday of the 1920s, and is stunned one night to find himself in some kind of magical time-warp, rubbing shoulders with F Scott Fitzgerald (Hiddleston), Gertrude Stein (Bates) and Ernest Hemmingway (Stoll). He also begins to fall for Adriana (Cotillard), a muse for Picasso and Modigliani.
Intriguingly, Allen never over-eggs the fantasy elements, cutting in and out of them in a way that makes it clear that we shouldn't take them too seriously.
This is a witty nod to the film's more interesting deeper plot, and it allows the magical realism to develop a hilariously farcical tone as Gil encounters a blinding array of artistic icons from Cole Porter (Yves Heck) to Salvador Dali (Brody).
Meanwhile, Allen and cinematographer Darius Khondji give the film a vivid visual style. An opening montage gorgeously explores Paris' picture-postcard beauty, while the 1920s scenes are rendered in a way that's both richly textured and unfussy. Even more impressive are some skilful long takes, such as a conversation at Versailles in which four characters engage in a lively, often ridiculous discussion that tells us more about the characters than we realise at the time.
And the cast is terrific. Owen Wilson plays the standard Allen character, a writer with a messy personal life who struggles against the pull of art and commerce. As the story progresses, Gil not only gets to indulge in his 1920s fantasy, but he's also confronted with a gentle moral conundrum in 2010. While scenes are packed with sparky, amusing characters, some gags go on a bit too long. But they at least keep us laughing. And despite the breezy tone, it's one of those rare films that's complex enough to reward repeat viewings.