With Magic in the Moonlight, writer-director Woody Allen delivers yet another satisfying slice of escapism.
Stanley is a magician well-known for unveiling fraudulent mystics. He agrees to travel to the south of France to meet Sophie, a young spiritualist whose hosts are convinced of her supernatural powers. Although Stanley sets out to reveal her deception, he finds her persuasive…
Magic in the Moonlight is a 1920s-set romantic comedy which deals with the concept of spiritualism in an amusing manner. The comedy in the film is light; with laughs being generated at an amble. Nevertheless, Magic in the Moonlight is entertaining enough not to require constant laughs.
Allen’s film is well paced, with the opening sequence giving a great introduction to one of the protagonists. Magic in the Moonlight also gives a decent build up to the other protagonist, Sophie; allowing the audience to form an opinion before she appears on screen. Supporting characters are drawn succinctly enough to make them distinctive without spending time on strands that lead nowhere.
Magic in the Moonlight‘s narrative follows a familiar tread in terms of the way the story unfolds. At one point it seems as if the story will hit its peak prematurely, yet the film still has places to go. Like so many other Woody Allen films, Magic in the Moonlight has something to say amongst the amusement and charm. Allen expounds on the nature of magic in a way not dissimilar to the thematic and overt use of nostalgia in Midnight in Paris.
Colin Firth plays the type of role that he is often identified with. In implicitly referencing one of his best-known characters, it seems likely that Stanley was written with Firth in mind. Emma Stone is as amiable as ever as Sophie, whilst Eileen Aitkins is good as Aunt Vanessa.
Being such a prolific filmmaker, this will not rank in the top tier of Woody Allen films. That is not to say that Magic in the Moonlight is not a good film (for it is most entertaining), but just that Allen’s best films are marvellous.