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Characters / Midnight in Paris

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Behold, for there may be spoilers for a Never Trust a Trailer movie.

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Present Day


Gil Pender

Played by: Owen Wilson

A Hollywood screen writer who has the romantic wish of living in Paris... during The Roaring '20s.

  • The Anti-Nihilist: Gil is bored with his life in 2010 and wishes to live in the 1920s which considers the best age. Until the end when he realizes that nostalgia does not change through the ages. Some choose la Belle Époque, some choose Renaissance and the only way to deal with the present is living in it, whether it's boring or dull.
  • Audience Surrogate: Gil's expression when he found himself in the 1920s was pretty much as genuine as the audience watching the film.
  • Author Avatar: Of Woody Allen. Shows the same traits of worries about death and sex, wears similar clothes and is quite neurotic.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: He finds his life in the present day (2010) boring and dull, and prefers to live in the 1920s.
  • Character Development: Finally realizes that nostalgia is just a mere feeling while travelling to the Belle Époque where he listens to Toulousse and his colleagues talking about Renaissance being the best age, and decides to return to the present... And that the 20's don't have antibiotics.
  • The Everyman: He is an ordinary man (aside from his Hollywood status) in a very unique and surrealist situation. That was one of the main reasons Allen cast Wilson as Gil.
    Woody Allen: Owen is a natural actor. He doesn't sound like he's acting, he sounds like a human being speaking in a situation, and that's very appealing to me. He's got a wonderful funny bone, a wonderful comic instinct that's quite unlike my own, but wonderful of its kind. He's a blond Texan kind of everyman's hero, the kind of hero of the regiment in the old war pictures, with a great flair for being amusing. It's a rare combination and I thought he'd be great.
  • I Wish It Were Real: Gil keeps wishing he was in 1920s Paris during his stay, until one midnight when an old fashioned car approaches and he is sent there.
  • Nostalgia Filter: His main trait. Though Gil confesses that he wants to live in Paris, he really prefers to live in the 1920s Paris!
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: His fiancee Inez is jerkass and materialistic, and prefers to listen to the Know-Nothing Know-It-All Paul over Gil. Adriana has much more in common with Gil to the point he thought she was a better choice. At the end, he doesn't choose either Inez nor Adriana. The only "adulterer" thing he did was giving Adriana The Big Damn Kiss.




Played by: Rachel McAdams

Gil's girlfriend who is about to marry him and the one who has to listen to his romantic obsessions.

  • Jerkass: She mistreats Gil a lot and prefers to listen to Paul when talking about culture. Look at her materialistic smile when she thought Gil was hiding a present for her.
  • Disposable Fiancé: With all her jerkassery, you thought Gil was going to stay with her? No, but he didn't stay with Adriana either.
  • Rich Bitch: She has lots of money thanks to her parents and isn't quite a nice person.

    Inez's parents 

John & Helen

Inez's parents who have some distaste over Gil's ideas and personality.

  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Actually, future obnoxious. They don't like Gil very much. Helen was suspecting a lot about his escapades and John was very offended by Gil's comments about Republicans.
  • Strawman Political: John. He supports Tea Party and was offended by Gil's comments.


Paul Bates

Played by: Michael Sheen

"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 one's living in. It's a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present."

An old friend of Inez who comes to visit Paris with his girlfriend, Carol. He apparently has a lot of cultural knowledge.

  • Catchphrase: Has a tendency to finish his banal insights with "If I'm not mistaken" a lot. (Usually, he is)
  • Insufferable Genius: Or something. He's a complete insufferable jerkass Know-Nothing Know-It-All who thinks he knows every single aspect of culture and Inez has him in high steem. For Gil, he is this and gives an awesome moment explaining the real intention of a Picasso painting, because he went back to the past and knew the story behind it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He points out during the visit to Versailles that nostalgia is denial of the present and having the past as a better period. At the end, Gil learns this lesson and finally accepts the past.
  • Mr. Exposition: Played for Laughs, as he is an insufferable "cultured" man, that loves to explain every cultural aspect and supposed stories behind a piece of art.

    The Museum Guide 

The Museum Guide

Played by: Carla Bruni

A beautiful guide and expert in Auguste Rodin whom Gil seeks for help.



Played by: Léa Seydoux

A sympathetic French antiquities shop owner who befriends Gil.


Historical Paris



Played by: Marion Cotillard

A young beautiful French woman and lover to Pablo Picasso and Hemingway, who comes to fall in love with Gil Pender and share the same romantic feelings of living in another age (The Gay '90s / La Belle Époque).

    The Fitzgeralds 

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

Played by: Tom Hiddleston (F. Scott Fitzgerald) & Allison Pill (Zelda)

The famous pair of writers (him being the author of The Great Gatsby) and the first characters from the past Gil gets to meet.

  • Driven to Suicide: Zelda. Almost jumps to the Seine river because she thought Scott was having a romance with a woman.

    Ernest Hemingway 

Ernest Hemingway

Played by: Corey Stoll


The ultimate BADASS prose writer. A Boisterous Bruiser whom Gil seeks for help in his writing abilities.

    Gertrude Stein 

Gertrude Stein

Played by: Kathy Bates

A writer and friend of Ernest Hemingway who gives good advice to Gil to finish his novel.

  • Butch Lesbian: Though it doesn't focus on her homosexuality, Stein is shown some traits of it in her personality and short haircut.
  • Cunning Linguist: Also speaks French, especially with Picasso.
  • The Mentor: To Gil. She checks his unfinished novel and helps him to improve his writing skills, and even gives him some tips for his personal life.
  • Only Sane Man: From all the characters in the 1920s, she seems to be the least eccentric one and doesn't stand Hemingway's MACHO personality.

    Salvador Dali 

Salvador Dalí

Played by: Adrien Brody

"I see... rhinoceros."

The famous surrealist Spanish painter and friend of filmmaker Luis Buñuel and photographer Man Ray with an insane obsession with rhinoceroses.

  • Badass Mustache: Dalí isn't Dalí without his moustache.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He is always thinking about painting and... rhinoceros.
  • Cunning Linguist: He talks both English and French aside from his natural Spanish and Catalonian.
  • Large Ham: Loves to make himself to be noticed. Holds the distinction of Chewing the Scenery along with Hemingway.
  • Mad Artist: Like his real life counterpart he is a misunderstood genius. He talks about seeing the face of Christ in a tear as an idea for a new paint and rhinoceroses.


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