Stars: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Simon McBurney, Eileen Atkins
Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Romantic Comedy
In Woody Allen's Magic In The Moonlight, the age-old debate between rationalism and mysticism takes center stage (though I've oft observed that many who wish to poo-pooh mysticism aren't extremely rational in their approach, and some who take up the new-age banner don't strike me as being spiritual in truly significant ways.)
The year is 1928, and Colin Firth is Stanley Crawford, who performs in the persona of a Chinese magician, wowing audiences with his fantastic illusions. Fellow magician Howard (Simon McBurney) informs Stanley of his encounters with a young medium named Sophie (Emma Stone), who has been creating quite a stir with her seances, ostensibly communicating with the dead. Stanley's favorite pastime is to debunk spiritualism, because to him, it's all illusory--just like his magic tricks. So he's off to the French Riviera to find the girl and expose her as a fraud. The stage is now set for some typical romantic comedy fare, where opposites attract.
As in any Woody Allen effort, Magic in The Moonlight is transparent with the hand of the master pulling the strings behind his characters, and waxing philosophical about the human condition. That is the heart and soul of any Allen film, and this one won't disappoint his fans on that score.
And though the film plods along for about the first half, you find yourself increasingly drawn to these characters--especially Firth's pompous and curmudgeonly Stanley, who is ripe to be taken in, not only by Sophie's persuasive powers of making you see what you want to see, but by her charms as well. The hunter gets captured by the game!