"Magic in the Moonlight" Is Fun for Everyone Who's Ever Fallen in Love


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


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  • A confirmed skeptic? You mean one who's not skeptical about being skeptical?
    (Well, Seriously of course, I was sold at "Pygmalion." I'll catch up to this one, too.)

  • You might say that. Thanks for reading, Margaret. It is worth seeing indeed.

  • I always enjoy your posts. Thanks for the wise recommendation.

  • What a delightful review! I especially liked the part about the old-time theatre where you could just sit back and watch the movie again. How
    perfect for a movie like that...

    Sounds like a marvelous time. Did you get popcorn and soda too?

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