In her debut film, director and producer Ann Hu creates a beautiful world with strong characters, both main and supporting.
| Original Score: 76/100
Despite the fact that it's occasionally corny, Shadow Magic is also so low-key and so charming that you might not care.
Some of the hostile reactions to Wallace and his movie machine may seem heavy-handed, but the film reminds us that China had been exploited by Western culture, making the opposition a bit more palatable.
Hu's affection is contagious, and there are wonderful moments.
| Original Score: 3/5
resonates with modern values but maintains its old world charm
| Original Score: 3/4
What an unremarkable movie this is.
Why not trust the subject matter instead of shaping it all to fit a formula?
| Original Score: 2/4
Makes us appreciate what today's audiences take for granted: the miracle of the cinema.
Gives us a glimpse of what it must have been like to be mesmerized and seduced by images that still convey magic and mystery.
A sweet evocation of a world on the verge of change.
Shadow Magic isn't interested in psychology or character study. It's a series of tableaux and on that level succeeds admirably.
Xia gives Jinglun an earnest likability.
There is a humane touch here missing from so many modern movies.
It's a film about film, and Hu's love of the medium's storytelling power shines through every frame.
| Original Score: 4/5
Sumptuous, warm, continually amazing, it's a completely enjoyable couple of hours at the flickers.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
Transports us to a world that still had a capacity for awe, and that's the core of its charm.
The film is at its best as a document of a changing culture and also as a loving essay on the power of cinema.
Charming if sometimes clumsy.
There is, alas, quite a lot of pidgin drama and comedy.
What makes Shadow Magic a mixed bag, both emotionally and thematically, is its burden of debt to mass appeal.