Am I nearly done, yet? Please tell me I don’t have to watch another Woody Allen film, especially after the soggy blanket that was Magic in the Moonlight. Urgh, I have two left? You’re kidding. Oh well. Better get this film over with!
As I noted in Match Point (2005), I am so bored of Woody Allen films. More specifically: the noughties films. Nevertheless, I have started my plight into the world of Woody Allen and I shall finish.
Magic in the Moonlight stars Emma Stone who was 25 at time of release (this is important). The leading man is Colin Firth, a skin-crawling 53 at time of release. The era is the roaring 20s. A time period Woody Allen must have a soft spot for as we have also endured trips there in Bullets Over Broadway (1994) and Midnight in Paris (2010). Colin Firth plays a Chinese Magician, though the blatant racism is appropriate for the time. His childhood friend tells him of an American girl claiming she is a mystic and is successfully fooling an American family holidaying on the French Riviera. Firth, whose favourite hobby is revealing the fraudulent activities of phoney psychics and mystics, agrees to unmask the charleton.
Magic In The Moonlight
The charleton is Sophie, played by Emma Stone. She is accompanied by her mother on this trip and has made a member of the rich American family fall in love with her. Firth does everything in his power to catch her out but she’s utterly convincing. She unveils secrets she couldn’t possibly know, makes candles float and dead people answer questions at senances. She has everyone fooled… And when she gets visions about Firth’s Aunt that she couldn’t POSSIBLY know, even he is convinced.
So. Magic in the Moonlight. Again, Woody Allen cannot be faulted for saturated, bright and sunny visuals. He can’t. He’s got that down from the opening credits font to the decor. The costuming is bob on and the sets are realistic yet with a romantic hue that comes as part and parcel of a Woody Allen film. Glad we’ve got that out of the way.
Emma Stone is 25 in this film, and Colin Firth is 53. At the very end of this film, they are a betrothed couple. Firth has thrown off the veil on Sophie’s shenanigans, yet still cares for her and wants to be with her. It’s gross. It’s so gross. I know this is so common in Hollywood, but they look their ages. Emma Stone is wide-eyed and wrinkle-free whereas Mr Darcy is sporting a, albeit handsome, salt and pepper look and holds his 50-something self with the posture of someone who has been on this earth for over 50 years.
At least when Emma Stone went after Joaquin Phoenix’s Professor in Irrational Man (2015) it was evident they were pursuing a forbidden student/teacher relationship. And Joaquin Phoenix looks youthful and energetic, Colin Firth looks like he exited the womb with a gentlemanly exterior. PSA TO WOODY ALLEN: please stop it. No one believes this relationship. No one else finds sugar daddies sexy except you. Please pair two people of similar temperaments in your next film. PLEASE. The rest of the characters are just fine. Nothing of note there, really.
The plot is completely one-dimensional. Whereas most bad Woody Allen films lose their way with over-complex dialogue and callbacks, Magic in the Moonlight is like a Hercule Poirot story without any of the murders or clues and with a half-assed reveal at the beginning of the third act. C’mon Allen, did Blue Jasmine (2013) the year previous take out all of your good storytelling? You cannot have thought this was good.
It’s really not a truly awful film. It’s not. I can’t say any film is that bad when the visuals are so dreamy and delightful. I share the same sentiments with From Rome with Love (2012). The visuals were never going to be enough to save it, but at least it’s not an utter disaster.
Have you ever seen Magic in the Moonlight? What did you think of it?