By Carli Velocci, a third-​​year Eng­lish major, with minors in jour­nalism and cinema studies

Auteur film­maker Woody Allen has become known as an authority on crafting quirky come­dies with under­cur­rents of profundity.

Mid­night in Paris”—his 48th feature-​​length film in his five-​​decade long career—is no different.

In “Mid­night,” Allen chan­nels his idio­syn­cratic per­sona through Gil (Owen Wilson), a strug­gling nov­elist whose pre­car­ious engage­ment to the uptight and mis­guided Inez (Rachel McAdams) seems doomed. Unlike Inez, Gil longs to expe­ri­ence the City of Light in the 1920s through the eyes of the most cre­ative minds of the time, including Sal­vador Dali, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hem­ingway and Gertrude Stein.

In a way, Gil lives out his dream. In fairy tale fashion, he hops into a cab at the stroke of mid­night and is trans­ported to his favorite era in his favorite city. He min­gles with Fitzgerald, Hem­mingway and Stein—all played with supreme gusto—and meets his per­fect woman in the form of Adriana (Marion Cotil­lard). This fantasy—unexplained yet utterly believable—appeals to the nos­talgic imag­i­na­tion in all of us.

At one point in the film, Gil tells Inez that he has fallen in love with Paris. Her response—that he is “in love with a fantasy”—is any­thing but conciliatory.

Though charming and witty, most of the banter and one-​​liners are fluffy sen­ti­ments that dance around the problem of nos­talgia and longing. Gil expe­ri­ences life in a dif­ferent era, but his enjoy­ment is fleeting and, as it turns out, impractical.

The burning ques­tion becomes whether the past is pre­ferred over the present.  Allen does not answer this ques­tion, and he doesn’t have to. As Gil finds out, hap­pi­ness trumps nostalgia.

“Mid­night in Paris” is now playing at AMC Loews Boston Common, Coolidge Corner and Kendall Square. Check local list­ings for showtimes.