Magic In The Moonlight

WRITTEN BY: Woody Allen
DIRECTED BY: Woody Allen
STARRING: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Jacki Weaver, Hamish Linklater
RATING: 3.5 stars

Just when you have had enough time to catch the latest Woody Allen film, he comes out with another one. Inevitably, not all of his films will be as great as others and it seems that after several successes in recent years, Magic In The Moonlight has become a minor hiccup in his extensive resume. It is not that the film is bad. It is actually a very funny and engaging romantic comedy with an intriguing magical element and lovely cinematography. But, it does not quite reach the heights of other brilliant films we have seen from the writer/director.

Set in the French Riviera in 1928, Magic In The Moonlight introduces the audience to Stanley (Colin Firth), an English illusionist who disguises himself on stage as Chinese man, Wei Ling Soo, and spends his spare time debunking spiritual frauds. Meanwhile, Sophie (Emma Stone) seems to have clairvoyant moments and impresses everyone around her including Grace (Jacki Weaver) who wants to talk to her dead husband, and Grace's son Brice (Hamish Linklater) who is in love with Sophie. Stanley poses as a businessman intent on revealing Sophie as a fraud, but the task soon proves to be more difficult than he expected.

Firth is as charming and delightful as ever in this film. He has some hilarious moments and there is a certain kind of awkwardness and arrogance about his character, which he shares with one of Firth's most famous roles as Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Fans will also be thanking Allen for giving them a dripping wet Firth again. Stone is also sweet and endearing, with some witty remarks along the way.

Much has been said about the age difference between Firth and Stone who share an unusual romance on screen. But for the time in which the film is set, the age difference is not a problem, and the actors have good chemistry. The real problem for many it seems is the "creepy factor" surrounding Allen's own private life.

When the film ends and you realise why it is called Magic In The Moonlight, you will smile to yourself and surely feel uplifted.