Woody Allen is one of the most special phenomena in film art. For more than thirty years, he has traditionally made at least one film a year, one would say with always the same character, a neurotic intellectual who looks at the world pessimistically, with a dose of irony. That always the same hero, like Chaplin’s tramp, mocks the postulates and established norms of behavior, allowing unlimited sarcasm to emerge whenever the main character gets his cherished minutes on the screen. In recent years, Woody, apparently realizing that he has (finally) grown old for the roles of young lovers, is looking for, but also finding his alter ego in other actors.
For example, shooting a postcard of Paris, based on the 1930s when the city was a center of culture and taste, he entrusted the main role to the disheveled Owen Wilson, who was a good student and probably had the task of studying Woody’s acting and his pettiness, neurosis. and the analyticity conjures up adequately, as did Jesse Eisenberg in somewhat more recent Rome. Mild hunched over, constantly flapping his arms and boring flying around others, to convince them of the correctness of what he is saying, are the trademark of Woody’s naval acting. Also, his love for jazz, musicals and the American post-depressive phase always finds a place in most of his films. What critics often forget is that Woody has also progressed tremendously as a director (just look at Match Point), and he was never just a playwright, while on the other hand the blade of the pen still went a little dull. I guess that also comes with age, which does not mean that his last works have nothing to offer.
In his latest film, he deals with magic through the prism of the self-righteous I know everything and I am always right about Stanley when he plays the always eloquently murderous Colin Firth. Stanley is an illusionist, loyal to science and Darwin’s theory of the evolution of living things, distrustful of man and skeptical of everything inexplicable. He has a very delicate nose for exposing deceivers. After performing in the south of France, his best friend and colleague from the industry persuaded him to go to America, and the reason would be exposing Sophie (Emma Stone), a young girl who has the skill to talk to ghosts, ie has the opportunity to touch only an object that has its own story or in the presence of that person to get vibrations and knowledge about it.
The film features interesting relationships between Stanley and his aunt, which can only alleviate his irony and rude underestimation of others, and with his life wisdom lead him to question his views, not only from an intellectual point of view but also from an emotional point of view. So, Stanley is convinced that only an intellectually comparative person can attract him, like, say, his fiancée Olivia (Catherine McCormack), and that there is no place for others, according to that theory, less valuable people. In his acquaintance with Sophie, he appears as an extremely British narcissist, however, as time goes on, and due to some spiritual sessions for which there is no adequate answer and explanation, his rationalization begins to melt, as well as his prejudices towards the outside and spirituality.
The adequate title of the film Magic in the Moonlight is explained through the interpretation of Sophie’s beauty. When it is clear to all of us that she obviously capitulated to his daring charm, she emphasizes to him at the ball how everyone tells her that she simply shines with beauty and that he is the only one who did not decorate her with the necessary epithets. Stanley responds in his manner that he noticed that her face is most interesting when the moon bathes him around 20:20 in the evening. One of the best answers that extremely dissects how on the one hand you can be a genius, and on the other a complete moron who doesn’t read between the lines.
By the way, at the end of the film, Woody Allen finds a Solomonic solution between the emotional and the intellectual, or between the scientifically proven and what cannot be described in words and theory. We can’t help but get the impression that Woody has expertly drawn out his personal views on religion and spirituality, and yet that he has never offended anyone with that. I am quite sure that his films are not watched by ardent fanatics, exclusive Lilliputians with one direction, but by people with expressed personal views who do not have to agree with his postulates.
Casting in his films is always adequately affected. Firth is masterful as a scathing perfectionist, Emma is a hit as a smart girl from a province that meets the world, while he was a little disappointed with the supporting characters, where there are well-placed characters, but they somehow imperceptibly drowned in the film itself. I mentioned earlier that Woody has been paying more and more attention to directing and details on the set lately, than polishing the script, where he only reminds of his old self in some moments and uses the loyalty of his audience with a balanced dose of perfidy.
The film is visually quite rich and romantically nostalgic towards the period of the thirties, presenting us with altars, clothes, rich gardens and courtyards that conquer with lavish elegance, all packed in a modern pastime that will not hurt our heads. Maybe a step back from Blue Jasmine, but quite a bit of fun for Allen fans.