Magic in the Moonlight
Damn. I usually try not to see any reviews before going to a movie that I’m particularly interested in. But there it was: one star, and only one star, right next to Magic in the Moonlight, the new film from Woody Allen. I skimmed just a bit of the review, and finally was able to pull myself away. I’d read it in its entirely when I got back from the movies, assuming, that is, that I still wanted to go.
From what I had gleaned, the main criticism of the film was that the lead actor was in his fifties, while his love interest was in her twenties. These were not the ages of the characters portrayed, mind you, but of the actors themselves. The reviewer was apparently outraged that Woody Allen, with his well-known personal history, would create a story with such an age disparity between the main characters. The reviewer said that because this was written by Woody Allen it feels “pathological.” And no, those quotations marks aren’t there by accident. “Pathological,” if you can believe it, is the very word that was used.
And so to the movie. And while, yes, it is obvious that the male lead is older that the woman, I doubt I would have noticed it much at all had I not read about it in that review. The movie itself does make minor mention of the fact that the lead character’s rival is young, handsome and a millionaire, but overall age is not a much of a factor in the story.
So, the bottom line: Did I enjoy the movie? Yes, very much. I’m not about to jump up and down and declare it to be Allen’s best movie since Annie Hall and demand that you see it. I will tell you, though, that the recreation of the French Riviera in the 1920’s is a treat, and there is some very clever dialogue throughout the movie, especially towards the end. Perhaps there were times when a movie didn’t stand out just because it contained some snappy patter, but alas, we’re not living in those times.
That night Spike and I returned home to find a movie from NexFlix waiting in our mailbox. It’s called Last Love and was made just last year. It stars Michael Caine as an eighty-ish widower who meets a woman about half a century younger. And when the final credits rolled Spike said, “I liked this one better.” And I readily agreed.
And so while we had both had enjoyed Magic in the Moonlight, never before had the difference between a Grade B movie and a Grade A movie been so plainly demonstrated for me. And now I find that I am jumping up and down, and demanding that you see Last Love. And again, there is nothing "pathological" about it. Trust me.