The latest film from writer/director Woody Allen is a light breezy romantic comedy set in the 1920's in the south of France. The scenery and costumes alone make it a worthwhile look.
After his last film, "Midnight in Paris", it is clear that Mr. Allen is enjoying writing period pieces and that makes them refreshing to watch. The plot revolves around a supposedly fake psychic played by Emma Stone and a master magician, played by Colin Firth. Sophie, the psychic and her mother are staying with a rich family in the south of France and have totally beguiled the mother and younger son.When a magician named Howard can't figure out how she is tricking them, he asks Mr. Firth's help in exposing the woman.
The film co-stars Hamish Linklater as Brice, the son head over heels in love with Sophie, Jackie Weaver as his widowed mother, Simon McBurney as Howard and Eileen Atkins as Aunt Vanessa. Marcia Gay Harden plays Sophie's mother in what amounts to a cameo. Mr. Allen has assembled a terrific cast but clearly above the rest is Mr. Firth. He is wonderful in the film and his light comedy just shows another level of the depth and range of his acting. Ms. Stone does an admirable job but I was not overly impressed and felt her casting was the one misstep (She always seems like a girl trying to play an adult). Clearly Mr. Allen doesn't agree with me as his camera loves her.
The location shooting is breathtaking and everything about the period wardrobe and props is pure eye candy. The film never takes itself too seriously even when Mr. Allen becomes dialogue heavy with his own philosophies. A highlight in the script is a scene late in the film between Stanley (Mr. Firth) and his Aunt Vanessa that is sheer poetry in the writing.
Far from his best, "Moonlight" is still enjoyable and I hope Mr. Allen continues to find inspiration from his recent European settings for his inevitable next yearly film.