Tom Basham

Magic in the Moonlight

In This Just OUT on September 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Magic_in_the_Moonlight_posterIf you are looking for “Magic in the Moonlight” I have found it. You don’t have to believe in magic to appreciate this movie; you just need to have faith in Woody Allen movies.

Stanley (Colin Firth from “The Railway Man“) is a world-renowned magician, although he performs as an old Chinese man. This deception allows him to have a simple and practical private life. In his spare time, Stanley debunks would-be mystics and psychics. Everything he does in his act is a trick designed to fool people, but these charlatans who think they can talk to the spirit world turn people into fools. His best friend, Howard (Simon McBurney from “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), asks him to unmask a young American woman who he is convinced has supernatural powers.

When Stanley meets young Sophie (Emma Stone from “The Amazing Spiderman”), he resists her beauty and gentle nature and digs in for the inquisition. Over the next few days she peppers him with bits from his life that make him start to believe that she may be the real thing. But he does not believe in the real thing – or anything he can’t understand.

Firth and Stone work well together with his proper British gentleman bit and her aloof and coy glances. Add in Director Woody Allen’s (“Blue Jasmine”) standard 30-year difference in their ages and his method of stuttering and bumbling into a love affair and it’s all rather charming.

When Stanley embraces the possibilities of a spirit world, so many more things seem possible in his life. He finds there is a difference between contentment and happiness. Believing in things you don’t understand is a requirement to be in love. Logic has no place in such things, though Stanley has not given up those tools.

There are some other great actors in the movie, but the focus is kept on the leads. While I would normally consider this an asset, it leaves many of the other talented people on screen as mere props to the simple construct of the story.

I admit this movie was fun and annoyed me less than most Woody Allen movies. For that reason I must give this movie 3 ½ stars out of 5. There is a little magic here if you believe in that kind of thing… or if you just like Woody Allen movies.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:


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