ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Magic in the Moonlight: Hope for the Misanthrope

Updated on August 9, 2014

4 Stars

4 stars for Magic in the Moonlight

The Review

Magic in the Moonlight is the Woody Allen film you haven’t heard of, but everyone should know. In this delightful tale of optimist meets pessimist, Emma Stone and Colin Firth make their film debut together in the 1920s south of France. This charming film, written and directed by Woody Allen, is an all around feel good movie that will have you giggling throughout. Magic in the Moonlight reminds us that even though magic wands, unicorns and talking to the dead cannot be real, we can still find magic all around us.

Let's set the scene. Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth) is a world-renowned magician who goes by the name of Wei Ling Soo. After a performance in Berlin, we find him to be a grouchy, egotistical pessimist. Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), one of Stanley’s only friends in the world and fellow magician, surprises him backstage. Howard requests Stanley’s help with debunking a phony spiritualist who is conning his wealthy friend Grace (Jacki Weaver) and her son Brice (Hamish Linklater), who has fallen in love with Sophie. Stanley, quite confident in his debunking abilities, obliges. They travel to the south of France, where Stanley meets Sophie Baker (Emma Stone) for the first time. Right off the bat Sophie has visions about Stanley, telling him information that she could not possibly know. He remains unconvinced. A short time goes by where he will not give into the ‘foolish idea’ of an afterlife; he only believes in what he can see with his own eyes. However, after Sophie gives a reading to his aunt, a woman Sophie has never met before, Stanley breaks free of his pessimistic chains. More time goes by and it is clear that Sophie’s romantic feelings towards Stanley are bringing out a conscience in her…

I have heard some complaints that the film is too fluffy, too silly, too light, but is that not the point? Magic in the Moonlight is a little silly, and most definitely is a tad fluffy, but why should that be a negative? It is obvious that the creators were not afraid of having a little fun. It is most refreshing to watch a film that has a positive view of the world, where you can simply sit and enjoy the story instead of the story inflicting gloom and despair, making the world seem like an evil place. Just because a film does not end in death and heartbreak should not mean that it is any less a good story.

The story revolves around the idea that knowing everything is not only impossible, but ridiculous. We can never know everything, and sometimes the magic we find in life comes from what we do not understand. Although “ignorance is bliss” is one of my most loathsome sayings, regarding some aspects of life, it can be quite accurate. For example, in the film, Grace is a wealthy widow. Sophie performs a séance where the group speaks to Grace’s deceased husband. She asks him if he had been faithful to her while they had been together because some say he had had an affair with a neighbor. A sign answers that he had always been faithful to her. We of course cannot know for sure, seeing that his spirit did not truly answer. However, the comfort Grace felt from that white lie means a lot more than confessing that the husband’s answer was really a knock on the wall provided by someone in the room. Logic and reason do not always have to rule over decency and poetry.

Not only is the story fun, but the mise-en-scène is exciting to behold. I found myself in awe of every dress, suit, headband and shoe that I observed. (And no one wears a suit better than Colin Firth…) The attention to detail made the experience more genuine, and added to the overall beauty of the image. Props to the prop master!

Props should also be given to Colin Firth. As usual, I cannot find a single flaw in his performance. He is a master of his craft, and brings charm and wit to Stanley’s character. Often I found myself laughing out loud at Stanley’s awkward demeanor and constant stubborn attitude. He brings depth to a character that a less experienced actor could have played quite flat. It is safe to say that Colin Firth has been perfectly cast.

That being said, I have two small qualms I must mention. The first issue I have is with my favorite actress, Emma Stone. Stone is her usual charming, adorable, quirky self, but that is the issue. I find that her performance is slightly too modern at times, making me think, ‘how cute is Emma Stone in that 1920s costume,’ rather than, ‘that Sophie is a clever little thing.’ I would not by any means say her performance is poor, just possibly not in the right era. My second issue is with the love story. I get it. Pessimist finds love with the optimist who opens his eyes to the beauty of life. However, my issue is with the ages. Sophie is in her mid 20s. Stanley is in his 50s. That may have been a common pairing in that time period, but a modern audience is watching. Both actors are exceptional, I am just not convinced they should be romantically paired.

In a summer full of ninja turtles, mutant raccoons and giant talking apes, this film proves to be the refreshing change we have been looking for. Firth and Stone’s chemistry is palpable and the constant ups and downs will have you laughing throughout. Magic in the Moonlight is certainly a film that all can relate to in some small way. You may not have heard a lot about it prior to its release, but I hope this review is enough to convince you to go to the theater. Magic in the Moonlight is guaranteed to add a little joy into your life!


Release Date:

July 24, 2014 (Limited)

August 15, 2014 (Wide)

Rated PG-13

Run Time 1:33


Special Note!

Magic in the Moonlight has no scenes during or after the credits.

You can learn about post credit scenes from the app "Anything After".

Click the following link for more info or to download:

Filming Locations

Nice, France:
Nice, France

get directions

Antibes, France:
Antibes, France

get directions

Cannes, France:
Cannes, France

get directions

St. Tropez, France:
Saint-Tropez, France

get directions

Who is your favorite magician?

See results

After you see the film, take the quiz!

view quiz statistics

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)