Why Woody Allen’s Moonlight Is Anything But Magical

Greetings loved ones! Liu is the name, and views are my game!

After sitting through writer-director Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy, Magic in the Moonlight, all I could ask myself was, “how in the hell has this man managed to stay in the good graces of audiences for nearly fifty years?” I mean, forget about hating him for marrying his own daughter, this film by itself should give you reason to dislike him. It’s junk; plain and simple. Worse still, its recycled junk. Unoriginal junk. Now you might make the argument that no movie ever made is original, that elements of preexisting works can be found in every new picture, but you see, Magic in the Moonlight is not simply unoriginal as a film. It is unoriginal as a Woody Allen film. The movie, which tells the story of one magician’s attempts to expose a self-declared psychic as a fraud, has so many characteristics of his earlier work–its set in France, the main character is an annoyingly nihilistic nebbish, there’s a romance involving magic, metaphysics and moral outlooks on life–that its not even funny. Look at almost any other movie made by him–Annie Hall, Whatever Works, Midnight in Paris–and you’ll find these exact same features. As one critic writing in the Washington Post so eloquently put it, “Allen shows us here that he’s as good at recycling plots as he is bottles and cans.”

But of course, on its own, banality is not a good enough reason to hate a picture. Forced dialogue and gaping plot holes, on the other hand, are. Good writers will tell you, “show, don’t tell,” and almost every single sentence that a character utters in this movie is telling us something. For instance, in one scene, a man is talking to his wife and he TELLS her the exact character of Stanley, the magician whose been sent to debunk the supposed psychic. Why not simply have Stanley’s actions SHOW us who he is as opposed to having someone TELL us? BUt what bothered me about the movie even more than the dialogue was the romance between Stanley, the magician, and Sophie, the girl he’s trying to prove a fraud. It just didn’t make any sense. Its made painfully clear why Stanley is attracted to her–he’s a rational man whose bleak, unexciting outlook on life is shaken up and made more interesting by her mercurial and mystical lifestyle–but you never understand why she is attracted to him. He’s older, overweight, not that attractive, and harangues her , and what she does, at every opportunity. I don’t know about you, but he doesn’t seem like that good a catch to me. But, for all its flaws, I will give the film credit for a few things. It’s costumes, sets and soundtrack are both beautiful and appropriate to the 1920s, the era in which the film takes place. It certainly does a much better job of representing that period than Buzz Luhrman’s Great Gatsby. (shutter) Good god that was bad!

But, anyway, I wouldn’t recommend this film to anybody, whether their a fan of Mr Allen or not. It’s clunky, cliche, and just not that enjoyable to watch. 6 out of 10, if you ask me. Don’t waste your time on it.

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