Magic in the Moonlight

August 21, 2014225 min

There are few guarantees in life, besides the usual Death and Taxes, we get a Woody Allen film every year. Yeah I know one of those things doesn’t belong in the statement, but before you make final judgment, let me explain. Every year since 1982 Allen has directed and released a film. That is thirty-two years straight if my math is good. If that wasn’t impressive enough he has also written a film that was released every year since 1977, so does my statement make more sense now? For a man who has directed fifty films and written over seventy-three, you got to ask, will he ever run out of ideas? The more amazing part of all of that is the quality of the films he makes, a majority of them are very good, It’s like he is the bizzaro Michael Bay.

Now I can go on and on about how great Allen is, but I don’t need to, because his work speaks for him.”Magic in the Moonlight” takes place in the South of France, in other words another picture perfect location. Stanley (Colin Firth) is an Illusionist whose alias is Wei Ling Soo, and yes that is exactly how it sounds, a white man pretending to be a wizard from the Orient. After a performance he is approached by an old friend names Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), a magician by trade, who needs Stanley’s help. The problem he needs help with is debunking a spiritualist named Sophie (Emma Stone), who he believes is a fraud. Eager to do so, Stanley gladly accepts the plea for help and sets out to do what no one can do better. Once in the presence of Sophie, it doesn’t take long for Stanley to put aside his beliefs and make claim that Sophie is who she claims to be, and that there are many different types of magic that exist.

Allen in my eyes is on one of his creative peaks. In the last few years he has released “Blue Jasmine”, Midnight in Paris”, and To Rome with Love” in other words two out of three really good movies. “Magic in the Moonlight” is somewhere in the middle, not a great film, but not an average film in the slightest, because with Allen you don’t really ever get bad. You have all the usual components of an Allen film, great dialogue, and with that sometimes enchanting banter. Add a great cast that headlined by Stone and Firth, but also Marcia Gay Harden, Jackie Weaver, and Hamish Linklater, all who compliment the film. With more and more movies feeling less about the story, forgoing it for bigger explosions and little plot, it is assuring that every year we can watch a little piece of movie heaven. Allen’s films are just that, and while “Magic in the Moonlight” might not be magical, it doesn’t lessen any of its wonder.

 

 

Brian Taylor

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