Woody Allen’s follow up to Blue Jasmine doesn’t quite carry the same punch as his previous successes. Set in the 1920s to a beautiful backdrop on the French Riviera, Magic in the Moonlight is a light hearted comedy starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone.
Stanley (Colin Firth) is a well known Chinese illusionist, Wei Ling Soo, who has used science, not magic, to conjure his many tricks. Few know that in reality he is a pompous Englishman. His favourite pastime is debunking imposters who pose a threat to his learned craft.
He is enticed by friend Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), to the Catledge manor on the French Riviera where the young, lovable Sophie Baker (Emma Stone) is causing quite a stir. Having been taken in by the Catledge family, Sophie enthrals them with her predictions of the future and her ability to talk to those no longer living. Stanley is determined to prove her to be an imposter.
Grace (Jacki Weaver), the matriarch of the great Catledge family, adores Sophie. She is taken in by Sophie’s charm and her striking ability to reconnect her with her late beloved husband. Weaver is quite brilliant in the role. She exhibits charm and naivety as the aging dignified mother who has clearly never had to concern herself with financial matters.
Colin Firth and Emma Stone both bring certain panache to their roles but it is uncomfortable watching as the age difference between the two is so pronounced.
Woody Allen was perhaps striving for something a little deeper that doesn’t quite come off in this romantic comedy. In the end it is the beauty and style of the French Riviera in the 1920s that steals the show.
Magic in the Moonlight is released today across Australia.
By Rebecca McRitchieOn January 31, 2014
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