After the success of last year’s Blue Jasmine, here is the new Woody Allen: Magic in the moonlight. In 1928, Stanley (Colin Firth), an English magician is asked by a friend to go to a mansion on the French Riviera to help him debunk a psychic medium. Sophie, the young medium (Emma Stone), has convinced a wealthy family that she can get in contact with the ghost of the dead father. In the process she is hoping to get engaged to Brice, the son of the family. But Stanley will have none of it: Sophie is a fraud. When Stanley and Sophie clash, Firth and Stone work well together. Stanley is a curmudgeon who does not believe in anything, including God. In Sophie’s presence, he his going to soften his stance, and start to believe she may have psychic powers after all. This is not one of Allen’s best work. The screenplay is too thin, and the dialogue is ordinary. The ‘mystery’- if you can call it that – is not satisfyingly resolved. The acting from the two leads is fun to watch. It’s unfortunate that the great Australian actress Jacki Weaver is given such a small part. A more meaty part is given to Eileen Atkins who plays Stanley’s aunt, and she is very good. The Côte d’Azur setting is beautiful thanks to excellent work from Iranian-French cinematographer Darius Khondji. With at least one film a year, we can’t expect all of Allen’s film to be masterpieces. Magic in the moonlight is just OK.
Magic in the moonlight