A macaronic Allen | The Velvet Café

maraconsMacarons. 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

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