Follow TV Tropes


Film / Magic in the Moonlight

Go To

Magic in the Moonlight is a 2014 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen. The film stars Colin Firth, Emma Stone, and Marcia Gay Harden.

Set in the 1920s on the French Riviera, the film is about an English stage magician brought in to help unmask an American medium who may be swindling a wealthy American family. Personal and professional complications ensue.

This film contains examples of:

  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The film is quite mild in content, especially for a Woody Allen film, with only some references to past affairs, occasional mild language and historically accurate racial stereotyping and smoking to worry about. It would have been PG, were it not for a throwaway line in the first few minutes where a character says he might be accused of sodomy.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Sophie Baker and Stanley Crawford. Stanley's goal is to reveal Sophie is a fraud and he makes very clear he despises her. Sophie is very critical about Stanley's personality.
  • Betty and Veronica: Sophie Baker (Archie) has to choose between Brice Catledge (Betty), an immensely rich man who is deeply in love with her (he spends his time composing songs for her), and Stanley Crawford (Veronica), an sarcastic, pessimistic stage magician who considers her as a fraud and a swindler.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Stanley Crawford and Sophie Baker get to know each other, even if Stanley does not confess to have any feeling for Sophie. Then Stanley understands Sophie fools him with the complicity of Howard Burkan, so he stops meeting her and Sophie accepts Brice Catledge's proposition. Finally, Stanley realizes that he loves Sophie, he propositions her and she accepts.
  • Caught in the Rain: Stanley and Sophie are caught in the rain after Stanley's car breaks down. They seek shelter together in an observatory. Sophie asks Stanley to embrace her to warm her up.
  • Chair Reveal: One of Stanley's signature magic tricks has him appear to leave a room and later suddenly emerging from a rotating chair in that same room. Stanley uses this trick to eavesdrop on Howard and Sophie while they are discussing their scheme.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Stanley Crawford is very haughty and very rational. He does not believe in magic, including in the magic of love. Slowly, thanks to Sophie, he will understand that love is the only magic in this world.
  • Easily Forgiven: Stanley forgives both Howard and Sophie surprisingly easily despite them having potentially caused irreversible harm to his reputation as a debunker.
  • Genre Throwback: To 1920s-30s American romantic comedies, such as Bringing Up Baby. Not only the plot, but the cinematography and the shooting style recall that kind of films, right to the very Last-Minute Hookup
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Stanley Crawford and Sophie Baker realizes they love each other in the very end of the film.
  • Love Epiphany: Stanley Crawford realizes he loves Sophie at his aunt's in the very end of the film.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Stanley is essentially a Composite Character of William Ellsworth Robinson (an American magician who performed in Yellowface and pretended to be a Chinese mystic) and Harry Houdini (a famous illusionist and hardline skeptic who dedicated himself to debunking the paranormal).
  • Oblivious to Love: Stanley Crawford does not realizes Sophie Baker is interested in him and he is very surprised when she tells him at the ball.
  • Phony Psychic: Sophie pretends to be a medium. Initially, Stanley thinks that she is a fraud. Then he starts having doubts... Finally, he realizes that Sophie is really a fraud.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: Stanley's car breaks down on the way back from his aunt's. So Stanley and Sophie have to shelter from the rain in an observatory, which deepens their relationship.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Brice Catledge is immensely rich compared to Stanley Crawford. Finally, Sophie chooses Stanley.
  • The Roaring '20s: The film is set in 1928. There are several scenes in a jazz club.
  • Shout-Out: Stanley's act of putting on Yellowface to pretend to a Chinese man, "Wei Ling Soo", to perform magic tricks is a reference to William Ellsworth Robinson aka Chung Ling Soo, a white American stage magician who pretended to be Chinese. He was ripping off an authentically Chinese magician, Ching Ling Foo, who was popular at the time. He wouldn't drop the facade until he was accidentally shot on stage during a magic trick.
  • Stage Magician: Stanley Crawford is one in the guise of Wei Ling Soo.
  • Yellowface: Stage magician Stanley Crawford performs in yellowface as Wei Ling Soo.