Magic in the Moonlight

Critics Consensus

While far from a failure, Magic in the Moonlight is too slight to stand with Woody Allen's finest work.



Reviews Counted: 181

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,379


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

Chinese conjuror Wei Ling Soo is the most celebrated magician of his age, but few know that he is the stage persona of Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth), a grouchy and arrogant Englishman with a sky-high opinion of himself and an aversion to phony spiritualists' claims. Persuaded by his friend, Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), Stanley goes on a mission to the Côte d'Azur mansion of the Catledge family: mother Grace (Jacki Weaver), son Brice (Hamish Linklater), and daughter Caroline (Erica Leerhsen). He presents himself as a businessman named Stanley Taplinger in order to debunk the alluring young clairvoyant Sophie Baker (Emma Stone) who is staying there with her mother (Marcia Gay Harden). Sophie arrived at the Catledge villa at the invitation of Grace, who is convinced that Sophie can help her contact her late husband, and once there, attracted the attention of Brice, who has fallen for her head over heels. What follows is a series of events that are magical in every sense of the word and send the characters reeling. In the end, the biggest trick MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT plays is the one that fools us all. (C) Sony Pictures Classics

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Critic Reviews for Magic in the Moonlight

All Critics (181) | Top Critics (45)

No kind of chemistry between the two ever arises, making their eventual romance, arrived at through pages of halting dialogue, feel particularly awkward.

Sep 22, 2016 | Full Review…

It's an accomplished, stately movie -- unimpassioned but pleasing.

Sep 22, 2014 | Full Review…
New Yorker
Top Critic

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.

Sep 18, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

The movie's opening hour has a fascinating balance of nonsense and depth... If only Allen could keep that introspection and frippery going.

Aug 21, 2014 | Full Review…

There's a dashed-off, shorthand quality to it, as if everyone involved is going through the motions.

Aug 7, 2014 | Rating: 2/4

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.

Aug 7, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Magic in the Moonlight


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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


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.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


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.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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