Magic in the Moonlight
Woody Allen's newest movie is definitely not one of his finest work, or perhaps we judged him too harshly now after his recent run of spectacular films starting from Midnight in Paris and the last one: Blue Jasmine. And unfortunately, the bulk of the blame lay squarely on both Allen and his two leads: Collin Firth and Emma Stone.
Firth and Stone are undoubtedly one of the best actors of their time (him) and their generation (her), but here, as leads in a romantic comedy - even one written and directed by Allen - they lack chemistry. And that is essentially the death knell of any rom-coms. Singularly, they are fine actors. Firth has the whole English snobbish, eccentric, rational wit going on, and Stone is fine on her own as the seemingly naïvete but romantically passionate American. However, between them, not even ice would melt.
Furthermore, another sorely lack piece of puzzle in this movie is the lack of an outstanding supporting cast. Jacki Weaver and Eileen Atkins were the exception but they just had too little to do. Poor Marcia Gay Harden was under-utilised - that woman has a mean funny bone! Just watch Trophy Wife!
Allen's script had his usual wittiness and some great one liners. His clearly defined Three Parts Acts also made the movie straightforward and easy to digest. What started of a typical rom-com, became Allen's short Gatsby-esque dissertation on Love, Religion (or Atheism) and Sociology. and then finally back to the Romanticism and irrationality of Love.
The directing was even with some good shots and angles. The images looked like they were appropriately aged, and south of France looked amazing as always.
Kudos to the set designers and costumers. And also to the florists, gardeners and floral designers!