As this is the Hiddlesbingo movie I was most dreading, I decided to watch it first and just get it out of the way so I can power through the rest. I’m stocking up on pinot grigio, M&S ready meals, and Halo Top, and I’m making a note of all Mr. Mulberry’s late shifts.
I used to like Woody Allen movies until I found out how gross he was and that put me off my Annie Hall. Now I can’t bring myself to watch them. Allen is disgusting, and I don’t want to take pleasure in his art. However, I am only human, so when it came down to a matter of principle or Hiddles, I went with Hiddles.
Look, it’s not my fault he’s so damn pretty. Fucks sake.
yes, i know you’re all sick of his face but idc
I was torn about this movie. On the one hand, rich people being awful for long chunks of the hour and a half runtime hardly seems like a fun time, on the other I got quite attached to the idea of frustrated author Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) walking around Paris late at night bumping into his literary idols of the 1920’s. I mean, I hate Paris, Parisians are so rude they give the rest of the French a bad name, but I like the idea of the movie very much. Meeting your idols is every writer’s fantasy. I felt like I could have happily climbed into the movie and lived it.
Gil could have used some better idols, however. I’m not that fond of American authors. Hemingway was an absolute arse. I once read A Farewell to Arms because I was interested in WW1. At the end when Catherine goes through the most stoic labour imaginable and both she and the child die, I remember thinking it was absolute pile of shit. Also his prose is horrible.
Scott Fitzgerald too. Not a fan. I’ve only read Tender if the Night and The Great Gatsby, and that was as a teen to be fair, and I remember thinking they just weren’t as good as they’d been made out to be by everyone. Nothing wrong with them as books, even if some of the subject matter is unpalatable, but they didn’t blow me away.
Enough of my unpopular opinions, anyway. Gil soon has Gertrude Stein critiquing the manuscript for his novel and he’s hanging out with all the big names. He falls for a woman called Adriana (Marian Cotillard) who is mistress to various members of Gil’s new 1920s set. Like Gil, she’s a nostalgia junkie, but she craves la belle époque. When she finds herself there, Degas, Gaugin and Tolouse-Lautrec are all hanging out wishing they could visit the Renaissance. Its then that Gil realises there’s no golden era and he’s better off changing the life he has rather than dreaming about another time. Adriana, however, decides to stay.
I am obsessed with several periods of history, and literary and artistic circles. I don’t think I’d come back if I was walking through Grantchester and there’s Rupert having tea with Virginia Woolf. Or I’d go hang out at the Villa Diodati with Byron, Polidori and the Shelleys. I mean, I’d bring a hundred pack of extra strong condoms and a whole cocktail of antibiotics with me, but it would be a laugh. Southwark in the 1590’s—now there was a time and place to be alive, if you’ve got a strong enough immune system.
It’s easy to romanticise this stuff when your day to day is humdrum, particularly if you are a writer, like me. I tend to live in my imagination as much as I do in the real world. So this movie fed into my own fantasies in a big way.
The parts set in the twenties were definitely my favourites, though modern day Paris made for some funny scenes. Michael Sheen’s pseudo intellectual arse was great, I laughed and laughed at the bollocks he was talking. When he said Turner was his favourite impressionist! Haha! He was just like me when I’d had a few and got on a roll at university.
I thought he was excellent, as was the chap who played Hemingway. I might not be a fan of Hemingway but he is a big character, he really stole the show, and every scene he was in was brilliant. Adrien Brody as Dali too. Hilarious! And Rachel Mcadams was fantastic. I love her in everything I’ve seen her in. Oh and Owen Wilson. Who knew just how good he could be? One of my favourite movies is Zoolander, but though I enjoy him immensely, I wouldn’t have picked him as an obvious choice for this movie. My bad, definitely, because he carried the whole thing perfectly with his naive charm.
I hate to say it, but I think Hiddles may have been the weak link in this film. He didn’t have a particularly good accent and he didn’t have much of a character for Fitzgerald either, besides calling Gil Old Sport once. It was like he’d just turned up and had a go, bless him. Not his finest performance.
As a whole, however, the movie was utterly charming. It’s something I’d watch again if Woody Allen weren’t a child abusing piece of shit. But I hate the thought of giving him money or attention so I won’t be.