“She won’t fool me.”
Woody Allen is a talented writer who simply never stops working. Every year we get a new film from him and of course that means that his films are not all going to be Award worthy. In that sense Magic in the Moonlight might be disappointing because it’s not going to win any award, but I still found it to be a charming and light hearted film. I’ve actually enjoyed all of his recent films although they really never blow me away (with the exception of Midnight in Paris which is my all time favorite Woody Allen film). I have a fun time with the dialogue and the characters he creates, although I know most of them are recycled and tend to appear over and over again in his films. The characters in Magic in the Moonlight are characters we’ve seen before in his previous work and there isn’t anything fresh or inventive about this movie, but I am sure Woody Allen fans will appreciate his work. This time Allen takes us to the gorgeous French riviera setting the film in the 20’s. The cinematography by Darius Khondji is gorgeous and the lighting is perfect, giving the film an almost fairytale look to it. The score is also very playful, similar to what Allen does in all his films. Magic in the Moonlight is beautiful to look at, it has the familiar comedic pacing from Allen, and of course he includes some of his personal philosophy and ramblings through his characters. The romance might feel a bit forced, but the performances elevate the material and make this an enjoyable experience. Of course the dialogue feels very theatrical and explanatory at times as Allen tries to set things up and introduce every character in the narrative, but that first act is probably the one I enjoyed the most. Allen’s films are recognizable and familiar, but I’d still prefer this over most other romantic comedies released these days.
The cast in this film is wonderful. Colin Firth is given the rather difficult task of making his narcissistic character likable and he pulls it off really well. I usually tend to dislike these characters, which make me feel disengaged, but Firth’s natural charm managed to keep me interested. Emma Stone is also sweet and delightful in this film. The romance might not be memorable, but the way these two actors played off each other was remarkable. The tone of this film might be light, but it is still charming thanks to these two actors who keep us engaged and entertained. I can see how some audiences might feel disappointed considering this is a Woody Allen film and it doesn’t live up to his best work, but I still found it to be a quite pleasing and fun film. Marcia Gay Harden, Simon McBurney, and Jacki Weaver are charming as well in their secondary roles and add to the overall light and entertaining mood of the film. There are some funny moments and the film does get off to a strong start, but unfortunately it begins to drag as we approach the end. It’s far from being memorable, but it still manages to be an entertaining watch.