I have put up a series of posts about Woody Allen lately but not revealed why. The reason why is that I saw Magic in the Moonlight recently. I saw it three times. I loved it.
I loved it even though I saw some of the usual problems. The main character is depressed at the thought of living in a godless universe where he is doomed to death. He is desperately seeking transcendence and unable to find it until, surprise! surprise!, he finds magic in a sexual relationship with a much younger woman. It's Manhattan all over again only disguised.
In Manhattan, Isaac Davis is 25 years older than 17-year-old Tracy. We're never told how old the characters Stanley Crawford or Sophie Baker are but the actor playing Stanley, Colin Firth, is 28 years older than Emma Stone who plays Sophie. That said, Emma was 26 when the film was made and there is a world of difference between man in his fifties having a sexual relationship with a woman in her twenties and a man in his forties having such a relationship with a 17-year-old. That said, why the huge age gap?
If we can can get beyond that, and I can, there still is a problem in thinking that romantic love is a substitute for transcendence. It's trite, rather than offensive, to believe such a thing.
All that said, I love the movie. I've watched it three times and I suspect I'll watch it again. I think a big part of its charm is that it is set in the 1920s. It also works like an opera. That's a commonplace remark about film that I won't elaborate on for now. What I will say now is that I think it's true. Realism, paradoxically, doesn't work in film.