Magic in the Moonlight: Film Review


I’m so gutted by this because I was looking forward to it and it seems right up my street but I was so disappointed – by the performances, the flimsy plot and the most unbelievable and contrived onscreen romance.

Colin Firth stars as Stanley, a magician who goes by the name of Wei Ling Soo and likes to debunk others in his spare time. His pal Howard comes to him with a tale of Sophie (Emma Stone), a mystic who are predict the future, communicate with the dead and know impossible facts about people. Stanley and Howard go to the South of France where Sophie is staying with some wealthy business types who have fallen for her ‘powers’. But can Stanley prove she’s a fraud? What if Sophie is working her magic on him too?


I wanted to like it because I’m a fan of the two leads and the concept interested me, however, that concept isn’t sustained for as long as I wanted and instead, their blossoming feelings for each other take over the plot. I wouldn’t mind so much if the romance was believeable. Emma Stone was convincing when she confessed unrequited feelings but on Firth’s end, God, I didn’t believe a word he said. He was spouting nonsense about loving her etc but I didn’t believe it once and he certainly didn’t show it. Not to mention the age gap and his character being such an a-hole!! It is the most unromantic romantic ‘comedy’ I’ve seen! Note that I’ve put ‘comedy’ in brackets – I can count on one hand how often I chuckled.

My biggest issue was with Firth. I found him so annoying. Yes, the character is supposed to be an arsehole, but the way he acted it really grated on my nerves. I feel like he was almost shouting and being theatrical like he was on the stage rather than in a film. His dialogue did not seem to connect with his face and in first half, he is largely repetitive.


The second problem is the script. It was very flimsy and no rhyme or reason was given as to why Stanley was adamant she was a fake, then he wasn’t, then he was. No weight was given to his aunt being in an accident. The big twist, that had me impressed for a minute, had no real punch because it was resolved too quickly and it wasn’t explored nowhere near enough. The characters were given no depth, you didn’t entirely understand their motivations and ultimately did not care for what they did or what the outcome was.

The only redemption was Emma Stone, who I thought tried magnificently with the material she was given. She was so radiant and shone from the screen – but I just wish I understood her character more. The other pluses were the setting – gorgeous – and the cars, dresses and music of the 1920s period – fabulous. It is just such a shame the rest let it down because my hopes were much higher.

Released: 19th September

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