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Emma Stone (Sophie), Colin Firth (Stanley), Eileen Atkins (Aunt Vanessa), Marcia Gay Harden (Mrs. Baker), Harnish Linklater (Brice), Jackie Weaver (Grace), Erica Leerhsen (Caroline), and Simon McBurney (Howard Burkan)
Stanley is a stage persona of an arrogant, egoistic Englishman who is also a well-known Chinese magician. He debunks pseudo spiritualists and exposes fake magic tricks. One day, as convinced by his friend, Howard, Stanley agreed on a mission to crack down Sophie’s spiritual claim while she stays with the wealthy Catledge Family to help Grace connects to her late husband. Little did he know, he is about to fall in love with Sophie’s magical charm.
In this Woody Allen film, Stanley sets himself in a mission to unmask fraud spiritualist and fake mystic Sophie who also holds an agenda to marry a rich man played by Brice. The latter is so smitten by her but Brice’s sister and brother-in-law disapprove of that idea that they seek Stanley’s assistance to strip off Sophie’s false character. From nonsense film introduction, the story goes deeper than magic when Stanley realizes that Sophie is a real charlatan mystic and a true charmer whom he falls in love with in the process.
Magic in the Moonlight stars two equally magical stars, Stone and Firth who portray their respective roles with so much justice and brilliance. Firth’s appealing accent and rich acting prowess prove his unmatched film experience while Stone’s big green eyes add up effortless enchantment to the screenplay. Both actors shine brighter than the moonlight in a setting where romance and comedy become a perfect combination.
While these actors tried their best to do their roles with seamless characterisation, this seems to be not enough as the lack of sophisticated and undercooked scripts have pulled them down at some part. Yes, the film falls short in other aspects too. From unpolished dialogues to shorthand execution all the way to Woody Allen’s sudden lack of satisfactory film direction. Magic in the moonlight is what may be considered as Allen’s uninspired and underwritten 44th film feature of all time. His brilliance that we are used to seeing in almost all his projects has gone missing this time around. Unfortunately, striving for the highest quality level of films is forgotten in this release and just like that, this movie is quickly forgettable.
Admittedly though, Woody Allen is not slacking off the whole time this movie was produced. In fact, its lack of bewitching flavour is diminished the moment you notice the perfect cinematography and the mesmerizing sceneries like the French Riviera, not to mention the well-thought elegant costumes and posh vintage cars featured in every magical scene. They are intoxicating and they absolutely save the film from utter failure.
Despite the shortcomings, Magic in the Moonlight is not massively far from the genius Woody Allen that we know. His taste in classic films is still etched and the breezy flow of events will surely have you entertained.