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Midnight in Paris

"Midnight in Paris" has been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and it is clear why. The acting is good, and the story touches the hearts of all those, like myself, who love the past and long to return to it.

The main character, played by Owen Wilson, is an American writer on vacation in Paris with his fiancee. She is unlike him. She has no longing to live anywhere but the present. He, like I, loves the past, especially the 1920's, and he longs to return to Paris in the 1920's. This longing is not very different from my longing to return to the Middle Ages. In both cases, we want to return to a time that we never actually experienced, because it ended before we were born. This is, therefore, very imaginative and could be criticized as unrealistic. I believe, however, that people like us live better in the present, because we have a sense of the past, than do others who live only in the present. We live in the present, and in a certain way we carry the past into the present, which gives hope that the present we are now living will be carried into the future by those who come after us and look back just as we do. People who live only in the present are shallow. What is the present other than a point on the line of time. The present is the point which separates the past from the present. The past is very long, and so is the future (probably, though we do not know this with certainty). A point, however, has no length at all. Someone who lives only in the present has no depth.

In an amazing scene, Owen Wilson goes out with a 1920's girl named Adrianna. For her, the 1920's are boring. She longs to live in "La Belle Epoque", which was Paris in the 1890's. The two are then transported back in time to the 1890's, and Adrianna is very happy, but they meet some men in the 1890's who wish that they had lived in the Renaissance. The Own Wilson character then realizes that some people in every age long to have lived in some previous time. Such is life. Saint Augustine of Hippo began the Middle Ages by saying to GOD, "my heart is restless until it rests with THEE." Such is the human condition. We are not content, but that does not mean that we are unhappy. To be content means to be perfectly satisfied in every way and want nothing more. How lowly and vile is the man or woman who wants nothing more than this life? C.S. Lewis wrote about the Joy that Christians feel while on this Earth. We Hope for Heaven, and though we do not have it yet, the mere desire for life with GOD in Heaven is a source of greater happiness than the possession of anything else. We do not possess Heaven, but we Hope for it, and so we are not content, because we want something that we do not have, yet we are happy, because what we want does exist, and we who love GOD can enjoy the thought that we will one day be there. But what is Heaven? It is life with GOD. What is life with GOD? i have never died and gone to Heaven, so I do not know the answer to this question, but I will draw upon my studies of medieval Theology to venture a guess at what Heaven might be like. GOD is eternal, therefore life with Him is eternal. Eternity is not a very long time; rather, eternity is outside of time. In eternity, every event is simultaneous. GOD sees all at once. Everything that ever happened, is happening, or will happen, is before His eyes now, and has always been before His eyes, and will always be before His eyes. We are not GOD, but in so much as we can bring the past into the present, we are somewhat divine. Medieval men and women knew this, and so they were happy, even though not content. We today can know this even better than they did, because we today have the benefit of many books and movies that help us bring the past into the present. We today can be even more divine, and therefore happier, then people were a thousand years ago. Unfortunately, it seems to me that most people today are not more divine than folks were in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, it seems to me, most people today seek not the great joy of Hoping for Heaven, but instead try above all else to attain contentment, which can only be achieved in this world by desiring less, reducing our ambitions, and accepting our petty little lives as the ultimate beyond which there is nothing. This movie, "Midnight in Paris", might help some to become just a little more divine, by hoping for something more than their own petty little lives, and in so much as this movie does that, it is very good, and so I recommend it to all. Those of you who are reading this must have some interest in the Middle Ages, which means that you like history as I do, so you are well able to relate to the Owen Wilson character, and I am sure that you will enjoy this movie.