Magic in the Moonlight review by Michelle Sommerville - Cinema Paradiso
I love magic tricks as much as the next person, but still, this film failed to excite me. It had good dialogue, great actors, alluring visuals, and yet I still could not get past the ‘mediums’ and ‘seance’. I find it vulgar and couldn’t make myself then care for the characters. I give it two out of five stars for this very reason, but have explored the film further below.
Woody Allen’s newest film follows a magician named Stanley (Colin Firth), who is sure he knows everything. He knows how to reveal fraudulent spiritualists, yet finds himself on the cusp of believing when he meets a beautiful young woman (Emma Stone) who claims she can communicate with the ‘other world’. Is she all she claims to be, or is it all just another big trick?
Magicians and their illusions have been popular for almost as long as history records. They entertained royalty, have sparked many a discussion, and have featured in a lot of films and television shows over the last few years. The mysticism is appealing, and this film shows how even the most devout skeptics can find themselves questioning. Without revealing any spoilers, a certain turning point in the film will either make it or break it for most audiences.
Magic in the Moonlight boasts quite an impressive list of actors and actresses. Despite their age difference, Stone and Firth had interesting chemistry, but made you feel a little awkward at times.
Though I am an aspiring filmmaker, I find I dislike the works of Woody Allen. This is not because of events from his real life or his ridiculous atheistic views, and is purely a matter of taste. With so many people constantly praising him, it only makes me realise more and more that his technique is no better than any other.
Allen always manages to create interesting concepts - however much it falls apart in the later stages of production - and the same occurred for this film. Instead of trying to make it stick rigidly to his ‘wacky’ theme (like everything Johnny Depp has ever touched), he should have allowed the story to grow on its own. Just because it could then be classified as ‘normal’ does not make it bad. I propose Allen does this because his film’s ‘wackiness’ gives audiences something to focus on, and distract them from the lacklustre and cliche scripts.
The costumes and make-up were outlandish and fantastic. Everything was over-the-top and this helped the characters to keep pushing the limit and not fade into normalcy. The crew also did a very good job at capturing the atmosphere of the era, and you would think they were truly in the late-20s.
Magic in the Moonlight has received generally mixed reviews from critics and audience members. I don’t think anyone is criticising the cast, and have instead voiced their disappointment with the rest of the work.
Overall, a disappointing film, and one I wouldn’t particularly bother with.