The theme that is evident in Midnight in Paris is the idea of nostalgia, especially for a time or place we’ve never been to before. Woody Allen explores the idea that no matter what time you believe was the golden age, those who lived during that time will long for a different past themselves. When Gil begins to fall for Adriana, a former mistress of Pablo Picasso, he is really just falling in love with the idea of Paris in the 1920’s. He soon discovers that Adriana believes that the 1890’s were the golden age. By incorporating historic figures into the story it engages the audience and further proves the point that there is no such thing as a golden age and that it is purely self-constructed. From Salvador Dali to Earnest Hemingway, Gil’s midnight trips to the twenties are like Night at the Museum for aspiring authors.
Woody Allen is a story teller, whether it be directing, writing, or acting, and this film is no exception to his style. The story is the heart of the film and by bringing the lead character into the roaring twenties the audience follows. It is believable because the concept of nostalgia is not foreign. Though the past is concrete in the sense of what happened, happened, it is malleable in that we can choose to portray it however we wish. Though Midnight in Paris is classified as a romantic comedy, this is far from a simple chick-flick, a well-written reflection on our obsession with the past.