Magic in the Moonlight (2014) – 10 quick points (or as many as I could come up with)
by Nandia Foteini Vlachou
I haven’t had time for a regular post in a very long time – although there has been no shortage of thoughts, ideas and stimulations. So here is a ‘cheat’ post, with some quick points on Woody Allen’s latest movie.
1. It is impossible to watch any Woody Allen movie without comparing the events on the screen to events in his real life (a result of overexposure to artists’ biographies, although Allen is still a case apart). Listening to Colin Firth refer to himself in the film as a difficult genius, one inevitably imagines Allen uttering the exact same words about his own person. The relationship of Colin Firth with the educated, sophisticated woman he does not love and the younger (much younger…) unsophisticated, uneducated, malleable pretty thing he eventually falls for, creates a whole train of uncomfortable associations.
2. Emma Stone’s charm, the green-eyed enchantress that she is, would be enough to make me forget all about them, but the utter lack of chemistry between the main leads got in the way.
3. Hamish Linklater stubbornly (and cacophonously) serenading Emma Stone with the ukulele was hilarious.
4. Marcia Gay Harden and Jacki Weaver were mostly wasted.
5. Eileen Atkins, on the other hand, was delicious, simply a treat. I could have watched an entire movie with her doing nothing really, except for telling stories from her colorful past. Now, there’s a Dame.
6. Woody Allen might be the director (either from persistence or coincidence) whose career I have followed more consistently throughout the years. There have been a lot of mediocre movies among the truly great ones, but I, for one, do not get so riled up about the first category. I even laughed at the otherwise unmentionable Scoop. So it should not come as a surprise that I managed to be thoroughly entertained while watching Magic in the Moonlight, even though objecting various plot points/developments, characterizations, gender representations and relationships.
7. The “tall dark stranger” of the You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is really death, as I have suspected all along. There is a line in Magic in the Moonlight, something along the lines of “the only prophecy that will come true is that eventually you will meet a stranger wearing a black cape” (or something). The bleak Tall Dark Stranger in all its cruel randomness (a characteristic that would be more fully explored in the superior Blue Jasmine) would be otherwise inexplicable.
8. There was an instance of highly enjoyable meta-reference when Colin Firth’s character (spoiler) proposes – rather atrociously – to Emma Stone. It immediately recalled to mind that other atrocious marriage proposal Colin Firth is famous for – so, hello there, middle-aged Mr. Darcy.
9. I still think that a woman of any age would have an unbearable life if she married a man, whose idea of her happiness depended on his perception of his superior intellect. She should have chosen the guy with the ukulele.
10. Did I say that Darius Khondji is an artist? And that I want to live in Southern France forever and ever and ever?