Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Emma Stone, Colin Firth
Release Date: Out nowWhen you go to see a Woody Allen film, you know it’s going to be a surreal experience. Magic In The Moonlight, Allen’s latest release, is no different.
The film, set in the midst of the “roaring twenties”, immediately draws the viewer in with the wonderful soundtrack; it captures perfectly the stereotypically depicted, glamorous side of the decade. We see the pompous Stanley (Firth) performing magic for the crème de la crème of Berlin under the guise of Wei Ling Soo, the Chinese wizard. Howard, a fellow illusionist, asks him to help in debunking a medium who’s doing the rounds in France, after his show. Stanley’s belief in logic and reality is shaken upon meeting Sophie, the psychic, who is acting as a medium for a rich family at the time. Sophie seems to have impossibly accurate insights into Stanley’s life, which keep him up at night and make him question his beliefs.
The narrative is at first a tad stale with some amateur acting attempting to carry the plot. It’s almost a write-off, until the film switches its focus to Sophie’s antics. Stone carries this film; she is hilarious and adorable, and saves the film from spinning into a mediocre, magical mystery tour. Even Firth is made a strong and interesting lead thanks in part due to Stone’s “aura”. The pair have real on-screen chemistry and the film trades on this (rightly) for its entirety. Love triangles, betrayal and creepy séances all find their place in an entertaining and fast-shifting plot. The film can be unexpectedly poignant, it can challenge your beliefs and prejudices, but most of all it will make you laugh and leave you with a big smile on your face.
Woody Allen’s work is often seen as a social commentary; a stark look at society and it’s quirks through his glasses. His perspective is certainly present in this film. The clash of realism, surrealism and cynicism is bundled into an adorable tale of love and trust. It’s a wonderful mixture, and these opposites combine to make a life-affirming and heart-warming film.
If you’re seeing anything this week, let it be Magic in the Moonlight, even if it’s just to girl crush all over Emma Stone and her fabulous wardrobe. Although perhaps a bit shinier and more “Hollywood” than Allen’s usual work, you can clearly see his mind and imagination at work throughout the film. Emma Stone will draw you in with her colourful and charming performance, but you’ll stay for the mystery and emotional turmoil.
In A Nutshell: It will make your scepticism disappear and will contact your long-dead emotions