I’m a big Woody Allen fan. There, I’ve said it.
Ever since I first watched his slapstick antics in ‘Bananas’, way back when, I’ve been taken by this most unlikely of heroes, both as an actor and director. Admittedly, there have been moments in time throughout Woody’s distinguished career when his film making has occasionally left me a little cold. The output of the last two decades for example has had it’s highlights certainly, but seems somewhat patchy when compared to what most will consider his 1970s and ’80s prime.
Thankfully, it seems that Woody is now entering a most golden of twilights to his career, if the excellent Blue Jasmine and now Magic in the Moonlight, a tale of psychic deception and reluctant romance, are anything to go by.
Colin Firth, wonderfully cast as Stanley, a brilliant yet curmudgeonly magician, has his somewhat fixed and unshakable view of the world tested to its very limits when asked to unmask an apparently fraudulent young psychic, played beautifully by Emma Stone.
Magic in the Moonlight is a period drama, jollied along by a typically charming, 1920s / 30s Woody Allen soundtrack of jazz standards of the era. Is there any director that can so expertly portray the whole gamut of human emotions through such a musical genre? Whilst being nothing new in a Woody Allen flick, it never fails to impress me.
It’s a charming little film that keeps us guessing until the very end and deserves to be considered among his very best of recent times; perhaps not quite a Woody classic, but not too far off.
It’s comforting to know that Woody remains both so prolific and relevant with his output, even to this day. His story telling may often seem as though it’s retreading familiar old ground, yet he always seems able to say something new and thought provoking in doing so. Quite an achievement.
Truly a one-off. Keep ’em coming Woody!