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While far from a failure, Magic in the Moonlight is too slight to stand with Woody Allen's finest work.
All Critics (181)
| Top Critics (45)
| Fresh (92)
| Rotten (89)
No kind of chemistry between the two ever arises, making their eventual romance, arrived at through pages of halting dialogue, feel particularly awkward.
It's an accomplished, stately movie -- unimpassioned but pleasing.
Firth's character is just so boorish and monotonous, charmless and unrelaxed. He's presumably supposed to be as airy and debonair as Cary Grant. Instead, he glowers like Gordon Brown.
The movie's opening hour has a fascinating balance of nonsense and depth... If only Allen could keep that introspection and frippery going.
There's a dashed-off, shorthand quality to it, as if everyone involved is going through the motions.
Largely thanks to the intoxicating scenery and the gorgeous natural-light cinematography, "Magic in the Moonlight" does weave its a spell, resurrecting the spirit of sturdier and more inventive movies by the same conjurer.
A predicatable ending and too many moments that coulda, shoulda, woulda been brilliant helped it falter.
Just go see it. I can't say enough. It's simple and beautiful and brilliant. I can't remember the last time I sat through a film not wanting it to end, and smiling the whole time.
Its complete lack of connection with Allen's or anybody's reality is startling, which seems to get at the film's very themes of storytelling and the illusions and delusions we hold dear in order to get through our lives.
Sophie has the balls to challenge society and the brains to recognise authenticity in others and even if she's doing something that's not quite to the letter of the law, her winning personality somehow makes it okay.
Firth and Stone both play magicians whose careers are built on a very willing suspension of disbelief, and "Magic in the Moonlight" requires that too.
Even without an unnerving sense that Allen is mounting some sort of defense with his script, Magic in the Moonlight fails due to its overt aspiration to be admired as a reflection on the nature of belief.
The dialogue is painfully expository and it is hard to accept that such a self-centered rationalist would be this easily convinced without asking the most fundamental questions about what he is witnessing. Besides, the plot is too predictable for anyone acquainted with Allen's works.
A miss for Woody. Beautiful looking film with Colin Firth fine in the lead but the usually charming Emma Stone is completely wrong as the supposedly mystical woman in question. Suggesting not an ounce of gossamer glow nor in any way a woman of the 1920's when the film is set she seems nothing but a miscast actress at sea. It doesn't help that she and Firth share zero chemistry on screen.
While most of this film will just go over your head as far as caring about the deep voabulary used to explain characters, "Magic in the Moonlight" is also an endearing film (albeit slow) about how love can change ones perspective on everything. Sure, there is much more under the surface of that notion, but we are talking about a Woody Allen picture here after all. Surprisingly, I bought the chemistry between Emma Stone and Colin Firth, because just after the first act I really felt as though it would have been forced. Is this one of Woddy Allen's most profound works of art? No, but for someone who has had a long string of average movies lately, this one stood out to me. The natural conversations about the world and what it truly is, really got to me. Not everything is all sunshine and rainbows, but the film chooses to stay mostly in the sunshine (figuratively), which I thought was very intriguing. "Magic in the Moonlight" is a very well-made picture with witty performances and a good enough story to warrant the dialogue that I enjoyed. Is this a film I will be remembering for a long time? No, but for the meantime, it was a very pleasant watch.
A magician con artist is tasked to expose a winsome psychic, and sparks fly! Colin Firth is dashingly aloof, and Emma Stone is blissfully light, but they lack chemistry together. Perhaps it's their age difference; perhaps it's their characters' lack of actual getting to know each other. The central question of the movie seems to be about faith. Does a greater power exist, and if so, is Sophie a real psychic? However, these deep questions are forgotten in favor of Woody Allen's canned "opposites attract" romcom plot.
The most powerful scene of the movie (and a vulnerable piece of acting from Oscar-winner Firth) is the moment when devout atheist Stanley puts his trust in prayer. He prays for his aunt's recovery, but then he stops abruptly, and I expected him (and Woody for that matter) to transcend type to realize the selfishness of his prayer and instead pray for his aunt's peaceful passing.
But no, we get a motivation-less epiphany about Sophie's fraudulent predictions, which is difficult to believe because so much suspense has already been built up around her inexplicable phenomena that the audience is just meant to roll with it, but the movie pulls the rug out from under us in an unmasking that is too deus ex machina.
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