Now this is more my style. I've watched a lot of classic film in my day. And clearly so has Woody Allen.
Magic in the Moonlight is, perhaps, not Woody's best. But it is still quite entertaining. It brings back memories of Noel Coward with a slight brush of Billy Wilder, all while still telling a story that is, at heart, very Woody Allen. This is not something new. Woody's frequently pulled from the annuls of film history in the past. Sleeper was Keaton, Bananas was Chaplin, and he's done more Bergman attempts than I can remember. So it seems fitting that he would step over to a slightly different piece of film history, especially since he seems set on doing as much work in Europe as he can for the time being... and Europe itself is so rich with history. Why not make a flick that takes place in the south of France in the 1920s?
Magic is the story of the grumpiest person on the planet, Colin Firth... trying to unmask the most likable person on the planet, Emma Stone, as a fraud. It's quite simple in it's telling and not at all unpredictable, but still rather entertaining in the way that those old romantic comedies from the thirties and forties can still keep you chuckling late on a rainy evening. And I genuinely love it for that. It doesn't try to be more than it is, tells you everything that you need to know, gets you in and out in just over ninety minutes, and leaves you with that wonderful feeling that you have just watched a good classic. There's nothing quite like that feeling for me.
Colin Firth is, of course, a joy to watch. He lacks all form of subtlety and to me that's exactly what this character needed. Emma Stone, likewise, kept me glued to the screen. She's really come into her own... though sometimes it feels like she was just born with that perfect quirkiness. Hamish Linklater also caught my attention because his character was so well defined and so perfectly opposite to Colin's grumpiness. And Jacki Weaver's over-excited nature brought a vibrance to her scenes that I really hadn't expected. I truly enjoyed all of the performances in this one.
Say what you will about Woody Allen as a man... but the guy knows how to make a good picture. And Magic in the Moonlight is no exception.