Slant have (rightly so) thrashed most of Allen's recent output so it's a pleasant surprise to see them joining in the positive reaction to Midnight in Paris with a 3 out of 4 review
The film is at its finest when the meaning of Gil's frequent retreats into his gilded reveries is left, for audiences, cannily unexplained. In one of the most beautiful scenes from Allen's canon, Gil leaves a café where he's just met Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), to bring back to the writer a copy of a work in progress, a novel about a shop that deals in nostalgia, only to return to the café and find in its place a laundromat. The moment, like Gil's own desperation about his life and future, resonates with more sadness than humor, and his confusion won't be lost on anyone who's ever mourned the turning of, say, a historic club into something as mundane as a mall or dormitory. (...) Midnight in Paris is Allen's strongest movie in at least 10 years, a fantasy about delusion rather than a deluded fantasy itself, but it's no masterwork. It's been longer than a decade since the writer-director has written a role for a woman as rich and complex as the ones he gifted to the likes of Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, and Gena Rowlands, and the ladies of Midnight in Paris are either whores, harpies, or banal innocents, none more obnoxious than McAdams's Inez, a woman whose sheer and utter reprehensibility, her craven class-mongering, is pitched at such a supremely shrill level that it squanders the film's potential greatness. For all his flaws and searching to become a better man, lover, and artist, you never quite believe that Gil would make a mistake as horrible as this obscene caricature of womanhood. (...)
Worse yet is how Allen chooses to elaborate on the film's thesis, condescending to his audience in the same manner Paul, Michael Sheen's "pedantic" art connoisseur, talks down to Gil by calling out his unhealthy fixation on nostalgia as a ritual of denial, a flaw in his romantic view of the world. Even Gil too cleanly articulates the theme of the film when he travels with Picasso's ex-mistress, Adrianna (Marion Cotillard), from the '20s to the time of Toulouse-Lautrec, instructing the woman, when she says she doesn't wish to return to her own time, about how history shouldn't become our obsession. In scenes such as these, Allen writes this review for me. And yet Midnight in Paris survives these missteps, almost entirely because of Wilson's exquisitely confident expression of his character's existentially defeatist outlook on the world.