The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A macaronic Allen

with 13 comments

Macarons. I see maracons.

I’ve been struggling for a few days with what to say about Woody Allen’s latest movie, Midnight in Paris. For some reason the words won’t come the way they usually do.

I think I like him too much. Allen has been a companion to me for so many years. Directors come and go, my taste varies over time and I move on. But wherever I go, whatever I do, I’ll keep watching Allen’s movies as they come out.

They’re rarely the best movies of the year, but they’re always good, always entertaining and always comforting, wrapping me into the familiar Alleness. While the world is spinning and life is slipping out of your hands one thing remains unchanged: the black and white credit texts in his movies and the soothing jazz music to go with it. He has become like an old friend or a pet and how do you write a fair, objective review about your pet?

So instead writing the smart, insightful and enlightening analysis I’d like to, I think about macarons. In case you didn’t know it, it’s a sort of French sweet confectionary which has been very popular in Europe the last few years, especially in the major cities.

Midnight in Paris is just like them: quite small, sweet, fluffy, light and elegant with fruity colour and taste. As long as it lasts you’ll enjoy every bit of it, but in the end it is what it is – a dessert, not a meal that will keep you satisfied in the long run.

I’ve seen some mixed reviews about this film. Some people say it’s his strongest for years and that he’s “back in the shape he used to be”. I beg your pardon, but don’t you say that about every movie he makes? Others claim it’s superficial and as empty and false as a tourist leaflet.

I suppose they don’t like maracons. But I do. And what is even better: my children like them too.

It’s rare these days that I get my 19 and 17 year old to join us for a theatre visit, but for some reason they’ve taken a liking for Allen. Match Point was the door opener. They loved it so much that they watched it several times, since they wanted to share it with their friends. He gained their trust.

However I wasn’t sure he would live up to their expectations with Midnight in Paris There was too much of namedropping in it. Djuna Barnes? Gertrude Stein? Luis Buñuel? I recognize their names but honestly, I can’t say I know too much about them and their works. And my children probably knew even less. Would it work anyway?

Well: admittedly it was a tad annoying to know that some of the references were passing me by, making me feel a little bit dumb and uneducated. But those parts were never essential to the conclusion of the story, a little fairy tale teaching us learn to love the life we lead, at least if it takes place in a rainy, romantic Paris.

We may have missed out a bit of the decoration but we still enjoyed the cake.

The macaronic Allen cake.

Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

September 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Midnight in Paris

13 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the heads-up on Djuna Barnes and Gertrude Stein. Now I’ll do some googling on them before I watch the movie. 😉 Buñuel I already know at least quite a lot about.


    September 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    • Oh you have more reading to do I think. Those were just a couple of examples. There are plenty of artists and writers in this movie. The more you know about them, the less of the nodges will pass you unnoticed.


      September 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm

  2. Aww, I still haven’t seen this yet! Can’t wait though.

    Andrew Buckle

    September 16, 2011 at 12:55 am

    • And I can’t wait to see your take on it! I hope you can figure out something more substantial to say about it than “maracon”. 😉


      September 16, 2011 at 8:05 am

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a fun time, even if a little trite and maybe confused. I, as a dutiful English Literature degree holder, got most of the references, but even the ones I didn’t were pretty easy to figure out the joke of, I thought.

    Alex Thompson

    September 16, 2011 at 2:45 am

    • I’m glad you loved it. You wrote a delightful review about it. I remember it correctly t sparked your Allen interest. Have you proceeded watching some more of his older works?


      September 16, 2011 at 8:06 am

  4. Still not out over here yet. I am gutted as I see it reviewed and loved everywhere!!

    I can’t wait to actually get my seat in a screening and see this blinking film so I can see what the fuss is!!

    What are Maracons? I have never had one!

    Scott Lawlor

    September 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

    • Considering the love Allen shows for Europe in his recent movies it’s strange that we’ve had to wait for them so long. Maracons are what you see in the picture illustrating this post! Very fashionable as far as I understand it!


      September 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

      • Afaik they are called macarons. I’ve actually never eaten one but as you say there are in fashion now.

        Hehe, ok, I think I’ll just see the movie and not do so much reading about the famous people in it… 😉


        September 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm

        • Doh. Of course you’re correct. Once again a proof that you shouldn’t knock off blogposts around midnight. Your brain starts to malfunction. It’s corrected now. Thanks for the headsup! I look forward to see your take on the movie.


          September 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm

  5. Hmmmm sounds more trivial than the hype had it to be earlier. I’ll await the DVD release for this one.

    Joel Burman

    September 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    • I think it’s safe to do so. It’s not the kind of movie that will lose a ton if watched at a smaller screen.


      September 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

  6. […] Midnight in Paris – sweet and lightweight. Not one of Allen’s best movies, but still enjoyable if you’re a fan like me. […]

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