Golden Era Anxiety/Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris


Owen Wilson was charming and awkward (and a better alternative to Woody Allen as a leading man), Carla Bruni was a pleasant surprise, Marion Cotillard was a dear and Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali made me swoon. Above all Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway stole the show, saying his lines in such a way that transports you inside one of Hemingway’s novels.  My favorite review of the film is from Lock, Stock, and Two Film Geeks, which accurately explains how watching the film made you feel that Allen is taking an optimistic turn in his directing.  Probably the most mainstream of Woody Allen films (I did say Owen Wilson), Midnight in Paris was endearing and catered to all romantics that suffer from “Golden Era Anxiety.”

Golden Era Anxiety the feeling one gets when they are unable to accept the difficulties of life and society in the present and therefore romanticizes a previous “golden era” that appears rich in intellectualism and culture. 

I’m guilty of having golden era anxiety.  At different stages I wanted to go back to NYC in the late 1960’s, England in the early 60’s, and Paris in the 20’s.  If you know anything of history, none of those times were peachy keen.

It’s also easy for my generation to romanticize bohemian culture, to have the freedom to do “your work” and lives without bills, taxes and loans.  We have nostalgia for golden eras where la vie boheme actually appeared to be within reach, though we do forget about modern pleasures like antibiotics and online shopping.  One climatic scene in Midnight in Paris has Wilson realizing that if he stays in a previous era, he will eventually only want to return to an even earlier one.  Grass is always greener, era is more golden.

Oh lord, another quote just came afloat: Nothing gold can stay. “The Outsiders”/Robert Frost anyone?

While 2011 marks a time of always being connected and always moving, we have to be reminded to stop.  The one image I have in my mind when I think about Europe includes sitting at an outside cafe, drinking wine  and talking.  As outlandish as it might appear, we (New Yorkers, recent grads, minions of the marketing machine) can do that too.

If we allow ourselves to.

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