Magic In The Moonlight Review

Wei Ling Soo, (real name Stanley Crawford) renowned magician and exposer of fake mediums and scam artists, is summoned to the south of France by an old school friend and fellow magician to reveal and expose Sophie Baker who is conning a wealthy American family.

An eccentric misanthrope who believes firmly in science and not spirituality, Colin Firth’s resolve is tested when he encounters a talented medium, played by Emma Stone. If there is a trick being played, will he find out and if not, how will that affect his own beliefs and existence?

There’s never any trepidation when it comes to a new Woody Allen and always a pleasure to see what he’ll give you next. Sure, some work better than others, but as I said to my friend, I’m pretty sure the scores for his films range _DSF0273.RAFbetween 62% and 89% so it’s all pretty decent.

There is much to like about this film, including British actors and the lead Colin Firth, playing a role that reminded me of myself. However, the main acting action is between Firth and Emma Stone. It is also a pleasure to watch a film that is not laced with cut after cut and so allows the viewer to enjoy the scenes, setting and photography.

The south of France is made to look lovely, without being the outright focus (see Midnight in Paris for a love letter to a location). It’s a wonderful journey that our magician goes on. The stuffy, cynical, sceptical expert is full of pithy put-downs and is firm in his beliefs that there is no meta-physical, there is no spiritual side. But once Sophie has him convinced otherwise his outlook changes permanently – opening-up to the beauty of the natural world and Sophie’s own beauty. In many ways this is familiar story – e.g. Along Came Polly – with a pretty woman making the man see the error of his unromantic, awkward ways and open his eyes to something new.

I had a lot of time for Colin Firth and it felt at times it was almost only his movie, as there was very little from the supporting cast. But what of Emma Stone and her lovely red hair? Her appearance was a surprise I’ll be honest, but a good one I have to say! I thought she was well cast in the role of the clairvoyant and love interest; a bright, romantic and keen foil to Colin Firth’s miserable Englishman.

Overall I like this film, nowhere near as much as I like Blue Jasmine, but I do really like it. And that’s despite knowing how all of the trickery was being done for most of the movie. Sit back, take some time away from exploding robots and enjoy a romantic journey through the south of France.

Magic in the Moonlight is currently in UK theaters.

Here is the trailer:


@martincawley