Today I finally saw Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen's most recent film. It was charming and romantic, beautifully shot, with an excellent cast (particularly Corey Stoll as Hemingway) and a fun storyline, and I hated it more than words can possibly convey. But why??? Well, because it's a movie I would have absolutely loved before I moved here, and will doubtless absolutely love it when I watch it again in the future when I no longer live here. At that point, I'm sure it will tug at my heartstrings and make me wallow in misty nostalgia about "ahhhh, Paris; living there was so great, I miss it so much" - but right now, it makes me want to force-feed escargots to Woody until he passes out from snail poisoning.
I mean, having your main character give up a lucrative career to live the life of a starving writer in Paris? You really want to get me started on that one, having done it myself? Sure, have him give up wine tastings on the rooftop of the Meurice and private showings of the Monets at the Orangerie - why not? It's soooooo much more fun to live on packets of ramen noodles (plus you get to go all the way to Chinatown in order to buy the cheapest ones, thereby seeing even more of Paris - good times!). It's soooooo much more fulfilling to have to eat at home every night so that you can afford to go out and have a drink with your friends afterwards (because you can't afford to both eat and drink at the café). Oh yes, indeedy, that whole living-in-poverty-for-your-art thing is just awesome - it's a testament to Owen Wilson's affable persona that I didn't want to slap his face off every time he bitched about his highly-paid Hollywood job as a "hack" writer. Dude, I would be happy to be a hack. I would be thrilled to sell my soul into well-paid corporate servitude as a writer, because selling my soul would be infinitely preferable to selling one of my kidneys, which may very well be how I pay next month's rent.
Don't get me wrong, Paris is indeed awesome and living here is a great experience in many ways, but it's not all wine and waterlilies. I mean, I know the movie is a fantasy, but I assure you that, in Paris, time-travel back to the 1920s is far more likely than: a) finding a friendly shopkeeper, b) walking on streets which are miraculously free of dog crap, or c) strolling the streets of Montmartre without approximately 87,346 tourists strolling along with you at any hour of the day or night.
Woody, your vision of Paris is very sweet and beautiful and charming, but until you've applied for a Carte Vitale, or had to file a French tax return, or been snubbed by yet another Parisien for not speaking absolutely perfect French, you have no idea about actually living in this town - next time, you might want to stick to New York...