This isn’t a movie review. Just a little something I liked in the film ‘Midnight in Paris’. It could have been set anywhere on the globe but it had to be in the most alluring and vivid example of human will and endeavor- Paris. The film captures the ethereal beauty of the captivating city of lights in a truly heartwarming and sepia tinted frame.
Dealing with the protagonist’s profound love and passion for this enchanting city, the movie, however, addresses a deeper issue too- what many would term as Escapism, a concept not entirely alien to all of us belonging to the human race.
At some point or other in our lives, we all feel the urge to escape the present and head for a time which, according to our beliefs, is the Golden Era of human civilization. Sometimes this quest is not as lofty as it sounds and deals with just the mundane.
In a hilarious turn of events, the lead character of the story- a Hollywood scriptwriter turned struggling novelist, having escaped the truth of his engagement to someone who doesn’t share his passions for the city of his dreams, finds himself in Paris of the 20’s.
To his initial bewilderment and later pleasure, his midnight strolls through the city turn into an adventurous setting for rendezvous with all his artistic heroes beginning from Cole Porter, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso to Gertrude Stein. He even manages to get his manuscript critiqued by Stein.
Along the way he realizes the importance of his present and the hazards of delving into nostalgic fantasy.
He finally sets his life to order and begins to find happiness in the present.
The film gives a strong yet subtle message that life cannot be led in fantasies. We cannot always turn to a rosy past in order to escape today’s reality. Present is what we have. Past is gone, done for, something to learn from not something to dwell on. We don’t live there anymore. We have all been blessed with the gift of today, that’s why it is the Present.