Colin Firth does his Mr. Darcy thing, playing a renowned Chinese illusionist who in real life is a stuffy, smug , condescending Brit named Stanley who, as a sideline, exposes the entertaining frauds of the roaring 20’s: psychics who claim to communicate with the dead. He’s set on exposing a beautiful, young American psychic who has been living with an incredibly wealthy family in the French Riviera.
A luminous Emma Stone is Sophie . She’s bathed in so much light, she practically sparkles . Rather than exposing her, Stanley is mesmerized by her gift and her charms. This being a Woody Allen movie, the issue of their 28 year age difference is never mentioned by either one , much less the observers around them.
In a very small role, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden plays the momager, not that they called it that back in the 20’s. Fellow Oscar winner Jacki Weaver is the American matriarch who hires Sophie for séances. 80 year old Dame Eileen Atkins plays Stanley’s beloved Aunt Vanessa, who raised him and still gently guides him.
You know from the beginning how this one ends but it’s so much fun to watch. This movie is all Colin Firth. He’s completely unlikeable and sharp-as-a-razor funny. The film is positively gorgeous. From the scenery to the clothes, all washed in a golden light.
It’s not be one of Woody Allen’s most important films, like last year’s Oscar-winning “Blue Jasmine” . And it’s no “Annie Hall”. Then again, will there ever be another “Annie Hall”??? But if you’re a Woody Allen fan, you’ll find few complaints with his latest once a year offering. It’s fluff but highly entertaining fluff.