Thursday Movie Picks: Period Drama

Happy Thursday, everyone! Brightburn is finally out in the UK today so I’m hoping to catch that tonight. I’m not setting my expectations too high, but I’m still looking forward to it. Anyway, Thursday also means Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. I had to do a quick Google search to define this week’s topic of Period Drama, as I’ve always said I hated the genre without really knowing what it is.

To my joy, Google defined it as “a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television”. Well blow me down, it’s a much broader term than I thought it was! Thanks to that revelation, I’m bringing a theme within the theme this week, as my 3 Period Drama picks all star Emma Stone!

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The Favourite (2018)

This, to me, is my dictionary definition of Period Drama. Women in huge, stuffy dresses and men going off to war. What convinced me to see The Favourite though was the cast, obviously including Emma Stone, and the fact that it’s directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, known for creating all things weird and wonderful. Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her performance in this, and she was so deserving of it! I highly recommended this one if you haven’t seen it already.

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The Help (2011)

It’s been years since I watched The Help, but writing this has reminded me how much I want to see it again. Emma Stone plays a writer called Skeeter who decided to interview the black women who look after wealthy families. Again, the cast here is stunning and it’s a shocking look into history. The Help is worth a watch if nothing more than to see Octavia Spencer deliver arguably her most famous line ever, “Eat my s**t”.

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Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

I only watched this one recently, but once I realised my first two picks shared Emma Stone in common I just had to see if I could make it a hat trick, and huzzah! Here we go. I’ve since learned that Woody Allen movies are an acquired taste, so this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I quite liked it. It had just the right amount of humour, romance, and mystery to satisfy me.

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Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

magic-in-the-moonlight-2014-movie-posterDirector: Woody Allen

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Main Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney

Plot: Set in the 1920s, Colin Firth plays a talented magician who spends his spare time debunking psychics. His pal Howard tells him about a young American psychic played by Emma Stone who has Howard absolutely convinced, so he abandons his family holiday to expose this psychic as the fraud she is.

My Thoughts: It wasn’t intentional but until a few months ago I’d never seen a Woody Allen movie. Maybe they’ve simply never appealed to me, but I wanted to change that so I started with Cafe Society (2016) and then moved on to Magic in the Moonlight (2014). I wouldn’t say I’ve been converted into a huge Woody Allen fan now but both movies were enjoyable enough. Are there any Woody Allen fans out there who can suggest where I should look next?

Anyway, I might not have loved it, but I really enjoyed Magic in the Moonlight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colin Firth play such a hilarious, stuck up his own arse guy, but he makes it work so well! There’s definitely something hypocritical about a guy performing tricks for a living who does so whilst dressed as a Chinese man who just so happens to get a kick out of calling psychics frauds, but that just adds to the humour of it all.

Emma Stone is mesmerising as usual, she’s been my favourite actress for a long time now. Weirdly enough one of the only movies I’m still yet to see of hers just so happens to be another Woody Allen flick. Although the movie feels really slow, I was compelled to keep watching to find out whether she truly was a real psychic or a fraud. The conclusion is worth it!

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Overall, I felt it fell short of being truly remarkable. The romance arc didn’t feel genuine enough to me, and although it had its funny moments there weren’t enough. Likewise, the mystery element wasn’t as strong as I would have hoped. Regardless, I still had fun watching it, and it’s not a bad movie in the slightest.

Best Bit: The twist reveal was my favourite part. Although I’d pretty much come to the conclusion myself by that point, it was still satisfying, and the chair trick took me by surprise!

Worst Bit: Brice was the most annoying character I’ve seen in a while. Ugh. Grow a spine, man! He was like a drooling puppy, but not in a cute way. Plus I wouldn’t care if it was Bradley Cooper or Justin Timberlake, anyone playing a ukelele and singing right in front of me is enough to make me cringe.

Fun Trivia: Wei Ling Soo, Stanley’s onstage persona, is a reference to Chung Ling Soo, the stage name of William Ellsworth Robinson (1861-1918), a popular magician in the U.S. and Europe for many years. Chung Ling Soo also tried to debunk spiritualists, and even wrote a book about it in 1898.

My Rating: 3 and a half spinning chairs. Just double check before you sit down, however, that you’re not about to sit in Colin Firth’s lap.

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