We finally caught up with seeing "Magic in the Moonlight", Woody Allen's latest flim. And in any light, we can testify, it is truly a magical experience.
We---my wife, Julie, I, and her mom, Helen---found it delightfully engaging from start to finish. We loved it so much we didn't want it to end. I sat there as the credits rolled wishing I were in a theater of the past where one could stay and see it again.
"Magic in the Moonlight" is romantic comedy at its best. In a way, it's a cross between Shaw's Pygmalion and an expose by James Randi.
Its main action is set in southern France, near the Mediterranean coast of Provence. A breathtaking, ravishing locale. Stanley Crawford ( Colin Furth) is a celebrated magician who has no illusions about God or an afterlife. He's a confirmed skeptic, rationalist, and misanthrope. The perfect man to debunk Sophie (Emma Stone), a young and beautiful medium from Kalamazoo who's been channeling the dead husband of a wealthy widow.
The year is 1928, a flush time for the ultra-rich. The crash has yet to shatter the credulous optimism of the Roaring Twenties. It is world that has largely forgotten the horrors of the First World War, though for some its legacy of despair, doubt and disillusion has been firmly entrenched in their beings.
Out of these countercurrents of thought, Allen has concocted a ironic tale of playful intrigue and romance. I won't ruin the fun with any spoilers. Except to say pomposity is punctured along the way.
Woody Allen's script crackles and sparkles with wit, the dialogue peppered with Hobbes and Nietzsche taglines. Crawford's erudition is contrasted with Sophie's meager learning. But in the end poet Austin Dobson had it right: "The Cynic School asserted/ That two red lips which part and smile/ May not be controverted!"
So Stanley Crawford does find out.
Filed under: Movies