Written & Directed By: Woody Allen
Cinematography By: Darius Khondji
Editor: Alisa Lepselter
Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Simon McBurney, Eileen Atkins, Catherine McCormick, Erica Leerhsen Hamish Linklater, Ute Lemper
Stanley is a magician who has dedicated his life to revealing fraudulent spiritualists. He plans to quickly uncover the truth behind celebrated spiritualist Sophie and her scheming mother. However, the more time he spends with her, he starts thinking that she might actually be able to communicate with the other world, but even worse, he might be falling in love with her.
Being a Woody Allen movie fan is sort of like being a fan of the New York Knicks basketball team. When he is doing good movies. You are so happy brag to your friends. Look forward to the next one. Instead of fully embracing and being happy they this one worked out. The. When he makes one that goes away fast or is just basic. You speak a little lower you are still proud and love to bring up past glories, but find it hard to defend his latest piece of work. Though you will point out the strengths rather then dwell on it’s overpowering weaknesses.
The cast commit to the material and make it work, but the film essentially feels like a shell of a throwback to a certain kind of witty romantic comedy of yesteryear. Only the film feels like it has no heart. It is all a facade to be out on display. It almost feels more like a prediction where yes there are characters but none feel real. They feel like sketches or ideas.
This is the type of film that might have passed the muster if it was made in yesteryear. As it has all the elements and wit. Only here it feels full. It has a screwball comedy set-up with little comedy. Not really any physical comedy. Which is what the film feels like it needs to help speed it up or make it come alive. It keeps walking a fine line, but never going towards the more positive and fulfilling direction. Staying at a slow burn. With many locations, but very little action.
It feels like Mr. Allen, feels In Love with the period. It’s like he wants to set the whole film in the past period he filmed in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.
Now I will say the film looks beautiful the time period recreated immaculately the scenery and the costumes. That was what partially saves the film. Truly if one really takes in those details and studios them greatly that should tell you that there is little to nothing going on, On screen to keep your interest or distract you from the background.
While Colin Firth is too good in the main role. Hat he comes off too natural and it doesn’t seem like acting too much. what saves this film is Emma stone. Now while she has been better in other films that give her more to play and a deeper character. She is very appealing in this film and makes a warm presence on screen. So just as the film makes the lead character slowly fall I. Live with her through her natural charm. The film does the same as in each scene she becomes more and more innocently sexy. Like the girl next door with her warm skin appeal and big eyes and that she puts forth with a smile and wide eyed glance. More seductive here and pretty then when the film GANGSTER SQUAD dolled her up and tried to make her a sex pot that didn’t seem to take.
The film has an interesting premise of taking down a fake psychic as there is nothing such as magic to the main character. While the film doesn’t take a deep stance on religion and Tate. It ends up still feeling more likens farce and a minor work. That wasn’t meant to be a major one.
What it ends up doing is remind one that it seems that Woody Allen still has stories to tell they feel like archive stories as they are not off an assembly line. Though the same themes and subjects in different coating. So that it feels like it is off his assembly line. That does make it different and somewhat enriching. Though still basic overall.
Even with the ending and revelations. It feels underexposed. Especially with the older man, Way too young, younger woman.
Even once the characters give into the obvious they still argue only to keep the running time with conflict until the obvious and inevitable happens.
The film has a main character of rationale thought and pessimism who only becomes hopeful and as adventurous when he meets a free spirit. Who challenges his philosophy and beliefs in all aspects.
Also I know it is an old hat but the difference in ages is also a little disturbing as he looks old enough to be her father. Sure he is mannered and debonair and handsome, but still it gives off a creepy vibe to a degree. What saves it is that they are never really physical with each other on screen. More conversations then action or even touching.
Woody Allen is like an old friend, who you get to see usually about once a year and are excited to be in his presence and sometimes tells wonderful insightful stories, but also at times tells the same old jokes you have heard before, but he tries to hide them by telling them in a different way. That you are not sure he knows he is retelling them as he forgot he already told them or trying to Impress others who might be new to him.
This film is the equivalent of the popular term from the television show SEINFELD yada yada yada. It feels more like fluff