Movie Minute – Magic in the Moonlight

Magic in the Moonlight is Woody Allen’s latest European summer fling, this time set on the French Mediterranean coast in the late 1920s. An insufferable egotist of a stage magician (Colin Firth in stuffed-shirt mode) is called in to debunk a supposedly bogus spiritualist (a sprightly and insubstantial Emma Stone) preying on wealthy English expats. Naturally, he falls in love with her instead (not a spoiler —  you’ll know from the first time they meet).

The clothes and cars look swell, everyone does a fine job with their roles, much of the BBC Repertory Theatre fills the background, and the scenery is lovely. Too bad the writing doesn’t live up to it. What there is of Firth’s and Stone’s chemistry seems imposed rather than discovered; Firth’s wild second- and third-act attitude changes serve the plot, not the character. It doesn’t help that Stone is half Firth’s age and plays even younger…but it is a Woody Allen film, after all.

Not Match Point or Vicky Christina Barcelona, but charming enough if you don’t need it to make sense.

2 thoughts on “Movie Minute – Magic in the Moonlight

  1. Seeley James Reply

    I’m one of those who thinks he’s been going down hill since Zelig. It’s sort of interesting/scary that his movies continue to extol the age-gap. But in light of his relationship with Soon-Yi and the 37 year age gap there, we expect it.

    Peace, Seeley

    • Lance C. Post authorReply

      He did seem to hit a long drought after Zelig with occasional spring showers (Bullets over Broadway was fun), then pulled it out with Match Point and Vicky Christina Barcelona. It’s been an uneven road since then. Blue Jasmine won Oscars, but I couldn’t bring myself to see Cate Blanchett play Woody Allen. Now it seems he’s back to charming piffles (Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love, this one). Maybe if he directed other people’s scripts…?

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