Magic In The Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classic)
Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout.
Starring Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney.
Written and directed by Woody Allen.
With a career that spans six decades, it would seem that a guy like Woody Allen is bound to have more than a few stinkers under his belt. I mean, they can’t ALL be Annie Hall or Hannah and Her Sisters. The eccentric auteur cranks out one film per year, and has a few recent gems to show for it (Midnight In Paris and Blue Jasmine). This year’s installment from the “Wood Man” is Magic In The Moonlight, the story of a magician’s struggle with the supernatural, and a beautiful young woman.
Colin Firth stars as Stanley, a magician working under the stage name “Wei Ling Soo” as he tours across Europe during the 1920s. During a visit from one of his magician colleagues named Howard (Simon McBurney), Stanley is challenged to travel to the French Riviera to debunk the claims of a young woman who is being courted by an acquaintance named Brice (Hamish Linklater), who also happens to be heir to a large fortune. The young woman is Sophie (Emma Stone), who claims to have powers of clairvoyance. Ever the cynic, Stanley vows to expose Sophie as a fraud. Stanley’s plans are sidetracked by Sophie’s charm – and her apparent ability to know everyone’s secrets. When Staney’s Aunt Vanessa (Eileen Atkins) is involved in a car crash, he confronts his feelings about God, supernatural powers, and his romantic feelings for Sophie.
Magic In The Moonlight is not Woody Allen’s best work, but it’s certainly not his worst, either. Firth is his usual brilliant self, and Emma Stone is delightful. The only problem with Woody Allen’s script has nothing to do with the dialogue – but more to do with the loose, unstructured story.
Woody seems to draw on his own agnosticism to derive the film’s conclusion – that perhaps the only supernatural power in the universe is love. So, whether you believe in mind powers, God or the power of love, Magic In The Moonlight has a little of each.