Bored to tears on my plane ride home from San Diego, I popped in Midnight in Paris. This quirky and inspirational film was written and directed by Woody Allen. I think that speaks for itself. But if you’re not familiar with it here is the Wikipedia summary.
The protagonist, a screenwriter, is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his fiancée and their divergent goals due to his magical experiences in the city beginning each night at midnight. The movie explores themes of nostalgia andmodernism.
In the film Michael Sheen’s character, Paul spoke words that stuck with me. He said, “Nostalgia is denial - denial of the painful present…the name for this denial is golden age thinking - the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in - its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present”
I’m a golden age thinker. I dream of being in London in the 1960’s when the Beatles debuted and wearing my flapper dress complete with cigarette stick in hand living in New York City during the 20’s. I watch film and documentaries of these times long ago. My head fills with imagination and I long to have been a part of this history. To me they seem like the most magical of times and my golden ages.
Although Sheen’s character defined this way of golden age thinking as a “flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present” I have to disagree with that. I don’t believe it’s a flaw and for me it’s not a coping mechanism to deal with the present.
I’m content with my present. However, it’s my reality. I live in it every day. Golden age thinking provides a brief escape to other times. This thinking fuels my imagination. It opens my mind and allows me to question the present and evaluate if I’m living the way I want to be living.
It makes me dream of other times, for some happier times and simpler times. I’m fascinated by the 1920’s and 1960’s. The music, culture and lifestyles are all captivating to me. Both are very different eras but are equally compelling.
Allen captures the essence of nostalgia in Midnight in Paris. Despite not being a large fan of Owen Wilson, I enjoyed the film. It made me think and question things, which is exactly what I feel good film should do.