Magic in the Moonlight

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Woody Allenís latest is out, Magic in the Moonlight, and we saw it last night. This one picks up on the time of Midnight In Paris, being set in a France of the 1920ís, not under the shadow of Prohibition. Colin Firth is Stanley, a confirmed ideological sceptic and stage magician, persuaded by a fellow magician to go to the Riviera to debunk a mystic seer Sophie (Emma Stone) who seems to be in the process of using her ďpowersĒ to impress and seduce into marriage a young, gullible heir to a huge fortune.

As cynical and analytical as Stanley is, he canít figure out how to debunk Sophie. She seems to know things that she canít possibly know, including details of Stanleyís past life. Stanley is befuddledÖ.has he been wrong all these years? Is the hard-bitten cynic getting soft? Is Sophie really for real? Things are changing for Stanley. With his cynicism fractured, he notices that Sophie not only seems real, but she also really looks good. Can he be falling in love? Can he bring himself to admit whatís happening to him? Not only is he falling in love but his whole world view of rational materialism is falling apart.

I really enjoyed this. Itís really written much more like a play than a movie. The film is VERY verbal, with fast-paced, intellectual dialog on the nature of truth, reality and illusion. Colin Firth is excellent in his fast-paced, British delivery, as is Emma Stone, who moves from being spacey and mystical into something quite different. As in Midnight in Paris, Woody Allenís view of the 1920ís makes you want to be there. Everybody looks good, drinks all the time but never gets drunk, clothes are great, and thereís Stanley driving that Alpha Romeo on the twisty roads above the sea. The Alpha is like the yellow Packard in Gatsby, almost a character in itself. I donít know that itís Allenís best movie, but itís well worth seeing and reinforces my idea that, if I can time shift, it will be the 1920ís.

Hmmm.. Why is this the only Woody Allen movie with outstanding cinematography?..