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Magic in the Moonlight

In Woody Allen's recent years as a filmmaker, his works have been hits and misses, prompting the theory that he releases a good movie every other year. WIth the success of Blue Jasmine last year, it's in theory that his next venture, Magic in the Moonlight would be awful. Well, the cycle hasn't changed as I have never met a set of deplorable characters in one Woody Allen film as much as this one.

Meant to be a romantic comedy but falls under neither, the movie takes place in the south of France in the twenties. Stanley, a renowned magician was invited by his friend to observe Sophie, a young woman masquerading herself as a real psychic. His purpose was to discredit her, but instead manages to fall under her spell. 

I truly wanted to like this movie, especially since it features two actors whose works I usually like. I ended up wishing they were cast in an entirely different movie together. This has been the worst performances I've seen from both actors, and even their supporting cast does nothing to salvage this movie. 

Colin Firth, who has the most content to work with, provides the most awful performance. He's sprouting out all these words about his character's beliefs and opinions and yet his posture and expressions show no signs of him agreeing to what he's saying. His words and actions were contradicting with each other that it's hard to believe his character, whether he's playing his pessimistic rational side, or that side that's supposedly happy. Firth usually plays stuck up roles and yet in some bizarre way plays the role in a charming way but he was just terrible here. And to think, he's perfectly cast for the role! No matter what he was doing, he was unconvincing. He wasn't selling his character that it affects his relationship with Stone's Sophie. 

Like Firth, Emma Stone seems perfectly cast for the role. She's bubbly, energetic, and whatever nonsense forms from her you're going to want to believe it. And yet, her character's progression was so unconvincing that it dampers Stone's performance. She wasn't given a sensible way to redeem her character, or have her character show any inkling that there might be something she was feeling for Stanley. Her delivery is supposed to be positive and vibrant, and yet when set against the twenties backdrop, Stone's persona doesn't seem to fit, like's something amiss. 

The movie was quite simple and yet the execution was terrible that it's hard to believe anything from this movie. There's no spark, there's no magic. The roles were written terribly, the events only served as progression but nothing of sufficient amount that suggests that these two characters have conflicting beliefs and yet they manage to find love within all that. Everything the characters were saying were either forced to make sense, or unusual with the character, or there's no justification. 

The setting was lovely, and everything was complimentary to each other, but in the end, the flaws come in the forms of writing, acting and directing. I haven't seen a lot of Allen films, but compared to those, it looked like he didn't know exactly what to do with his cast. The vision was there, you can see he was trying to go for this specific charm but it got lost in translation. Such a disappointing movie from a renowned director.


Final Word: I really think Woody Allen was trying to go for a specific charm in this one, but it just wasn't present enough to make the movie more than it should be.

Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden
Director: Woody Allen
Year: 2014

Comments

  1. Aw, pity you didn't like it! I thought it was very charming, but I am also very optimistic about films and if given the chance, look away from the flaws. Great review, anyway!

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    1. I've been getting some movie disappointments recently - great cast but there's something that doesn't make it work for me. I like Firth and Stone, but maybe I'd like to see their casting again in a different movie.

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