Magic in the Moonlight Magic in the Moonlight
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Magic in the Moonlight

is a 2014 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen . It is Allen's 44th film.The film stars Colin Firth , Emma Stone , Hamish Linklater , Marcia Gay Harden , Jacki Weaver , Erica Leerhsen , Eileen Atkins , and Simon McBurney . Set in the 1920s on the French Riviera , the film was released on July 25, 2014, by Sony Pictures Classics .Magic in the Moonlightreceived a generally mixed reception. Critics praised the performances of Firth and Stone, but found its writing formulaic.

In 1928, a globally famous illusionist , Wei Ling Soo, performs in front of a crowd in Berlin with his world-class magic act. As he walks off stage the film audience sees that he is actually a British man named Stanley ( Colin Firth ). He berates his employees and is generally curmudgeonly towards his well-wishers. In his dressing-room, he is greeted by old friend and fellow illusionist Howard Burkan ( Simon McBurney ). Howard enlists Stanley to go with him to the Côte d'Azur where a rich American family, the Catledges, has apparently been taken in by a clairvoyant and mystic, Sophie ( Emma Stone ). In fact, the son of the family, Brice ( Hamish Linklater ), is smitten with Sophie, and his sister Caroline ( Erica Leerhsen ) and brother-in-law George ( Jeremy Shamos ) are concerned Brice is considering proposing marriage. Howard says that he has been unable to uncover the secrets behind her tricks and he admits that the more he watched her the more he believed she really has supernatural powers. So he would like Stanley, who has debunked charlatan mystics in the past, to help him prove she is a fraud.

Howard and Stanley travel to the French Riviera, but Stanley is soon astonished by Sophie's ability to go into a fugue state and apparently pull out highly personal details about him and his family. Stanley witnesses a seance in which Sophie communicates with the deceased patriarch of the American family. A candle floats up from the table and Howard grabs it to try to discern what trickery is at play, but is astounded to find no apparent subterfuge. Stanley begins spending time with Sophie. He takes her to visit his aunt and they drive a convertible along the picturesque rocky corniches .

When Stanley and Sophie visit his aunt Vanessa ( Eileen Atkins ), Sophie is seemingly able, after holding aunt Vanessa's pearls, to somehow relate secret details of Vanessa's one great love affair. This finally convinces Stanley of Sophie's authenticity and he has an emotional epiphany, feeling that his lifelong rationalism and cynicism have been misguided. When caught in a rain storm, they end up at an observatory that Stanley had visited as a child. After the rain subsides, they open the roof up and view the stars.

At a Gatsby -esque party, Stanley and Sophie dance. As they walk together later that night, Sophie asks him if he has felt any feelings for her "as a woman". Stanley, who has admired her talents as a mystic and is grateful to her for opening his eyes to a new worldview, is taken aback and admits that he has not thought of her that way. She leaves upset. The next day Stanley holds a press conference to tell the world that he, who spent his life debunking charlatan mystics, has finally come to find one who is the real deal. The reporters drill him with questions, but the grilling is interrupted when he receives news his aunt Vanessa has been in a car accident.

Stanley rushes to the hospital, and in an emotional scene in a waiting room considers turning to prayer for solace. That is, if he now has come to believe in divination and mysticism, perhaps he should believe in God and prayer. He begins to pray for a miracle to save his aunt, but is unable to go through with it. The rationality that has been his whole life comes back and he rejects prayer, the supernatural and by extension, Sophie and her powers. He decides once more to prove she is a fraud.

Using a trick seen earlier in his stage act, Stanley appears to leave the room but stays to overhear Sophie and Howard discuss their collusion in what has been an elaborate ruse. He discovers that Sophie was able to know so much about him and his aunt because she and Howard collaborated to fool Stanley. Sophie was indeed a charlatan tricking the rich American family and was quickly discovered by Howard. Rather than unmask her and stop the ruse, he enlisted Sophie to help him one-up his best friend and rival, Stanley.

Stanley is initially angry at Howard and Sophie but decides to forgive them. In a conversation with his aunt Vanessa, who has recovered from her car accident, Stanley admits and fully realizes that he is in love with Sophie. He finds her and asks her not to marry Brice, but marry him instead. Sophie is taken aback and finds his haughty, awkward proposal unsuitable. She tells him she still plans to marry the wealthy Brice. Returning dejected to his aunt Vanessa's, Stanley further admits that he fell in love with Sophie at first sight , and, saddened, is then surprised when Sophie, who had arrived before him, knocks a spirit knock. He proposes, she accepts with a spirit knock, and they kiss as the film ends.

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