“The summer’s most beguiling romantic comedy”—Rolling Stone. “The more things change, the more Woody Allen stays the same: It’s a comfort that this singular artist’s worldview remains so staunchly his own—often archaically against fashion—and that nothing seems to halt his movie-a-year pace. (This, after a year in which he found widespread critical and commercial success with BLUE JASMINE). The director’s latest—a lighthearted romance set in 1920s Germany and France—is one of Allen’s most charmingly conceived and performed efforts. Our hero, Stanley (Colin Firth, amusingly pompous), is a popular stage magician and lifetime skeptic conscripted by a colleague to travel to a lush Côte d’Azur estate. His task is to debunk a self-proclaimed psychic named Sophie (Emma Stone, strong-willed and alluring), who appears to be bilking a rich old widow out of every cent. Yet try as Stanley might, he’s unable to uncover her trickery, and with each new “miracle” she performs, he falls deeper and deeper in love. It’s a simple premise that Allen complicates with an illusionist’s expertise. If the essence of magic is a steady stream of pleasurable distraction until the mind-bending big reveal, then the sun-dappled French vistas—gorgeously photographed by cinematographer Darius Khondji—and a very able and attractive cast decked out in Jazz Age finery more than do the job…MAGIC casts a lovely, lingering spell”—Time Out New York. PG-13. 97 Min.
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