Woody Allen’s new movie gives the audience not only very attractive actors doing their work perfectly but also some philosophy to think about. How many of us have wished we lived in a different time, or thought that we were born too late? (We rarely think we were born too early.) Owen Wilson plays a successful screenwriter whose visit to Paris with his fiance brings on a bit of magic, allowing him to visit his favorite artistic era just as he is in the throes of writing his first novel. While we are chewing over the meditative bits about needing to accept the time you live in, there is some fine music being played by Sidney Bechet, beautiful costumes worn by the lovely Marion Cotillard, and shots of the city’s landmarks and rooftops.
Adrien Brody does a wonderful comic turn as Salvador Dali, Kathy Bates plays a humane Gertrude Stein. All of the casting and makeup are marvelous. It reminded me a little of my other favorite Allen movies, like Zelig, and Purple Rose of Cairo where the leap off the screen, the leap of imagination is gracefully done from scene to scene, and the audience has no trouble accepting this alternate reality.
The absurdity of life pops up and makes you laugh at regular intervals, but a movie that is both intellectually accessible and challenging is extremely rare.