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Midnight in Paris is a 2011 American-Spanish romantic comedy-fantasy film written and directed by Woody Allen. Set in Paris, the film follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, who is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his materialistic fiancée and their divergent goals, which become increasingly exaggerated as he travels back in time each night at midnight. The movie explores themes of nostalgia and modernism.
In 2010, Gil Pender, a successful but creatively unfulfilled Hollywood screenwriter, and his fiancée Inez, are in Paris vacationing with Inez’s wealthy, conservative parents. Gil is struggling to finish his first novel, centered on a man who works in a nostalgia shop. Inez dismisses his ambition as a romantic daydream, and encourages him to stick with lucrative screenwriting. Gil is considering moving to Paris (which he notes, much to the dismay of his fiancée, is at its most beautiful in the rain).
Inez is intent on living in Malibu. By chance, they are joined by Inez’s friend Paul, who is described as both pedantic and a pseudo-intellectual, and who speaks with great authority but questionable accuracy on the history and artworks of Paris. Paul contradicts a tour guide at the Musée Rodin, and insists that his knowledge of Rodin’s relationships is more accurate than that of the guide.
Inez admires him; Gil finds him insufferable. Gil gets drunk one night when Inez has gone off dancing with Paul and his wife, and becomes lost in the back streets of Paris. At midnight, a 1920s Peugeot Type 176 car draws up beside him, and the passengers, dressed in 1920s clothing, urge him to join them. They go to a party for Jean Cocteau where the astonished Gil realizes that he has been transported back to the 1920s, an era he idolizes. He encounters Cole Porter, Alice B. Toklas, Josephine Baker and Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, who take him to meet Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway offers to show Gil’s novel to Gertrude Stein, and Gil goes to fetch his manuscript from his hotel.
However, as soon as he leaves, he finds he has returned to 2010 and that the bar where the 1920s literati were drinking is a closed laundromat. Gil attempts to bring Inez to the past with him the following night, but she becomes impatient and peevishly returns to the hotel. Just after she leaves, the clock strikes midnight and the same car arrives, this time with Hemingway inside. He takes Gil to meet Stein, who agrees to read his novel and introduces him to Pablo Picasso and his lover Adriana. Adriana and Gil are instantly attracted to each other. Stein reads aloud the novel’s first line