Director: Philippe Muyl
Cast: Antoine Duléry, Marie Gillain, Benoît Brière, Cali, Louis Dussol, Jean-Robert Bourdage, Holly O'Brien, Rachel Gauthier, Marie Gillain, Gouchy Boy
RunTime: 1 hr 31 mins
Released By: Festive Films & Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: http://www.magique-lefilm.com/
Opening Day: 23 April 2009
MAGIQUE! tells the tale of a boy, Tommy (10 years old), who lives with his mother Betty, in a country honey farm far from Montreal. Tommy has never known his father and in filling the void of his inquisitive mind, he'd imagine his father as an astronaut. Mother Betty on the other hand is a melancholic woman whose search for a companion on the internet would often end in vain. It saddens Tommy to see his mother so unhappy, but how can he bring back her radiant smile?
One day, a small travelling circus arrives in the village where Tommy attends school. But due to administrative problems, they cannot erect the big top and are forced to flee the village. An idea starts to form in Tommy's head - What better way to bring joy back into his family's lives than a circus? So after a great deal of effort, Tommy succeeds in convincing his mother to offer their land to the small circus.
If Laughter has its way, it's the cure to all illnesses. Nothing beats a hearty
laugh to chase the blues away, and this is what a little boy, Tommy (Louis Dussol),
plans to do, with the cherubic child brimming with optimism getting genuinely
concerned with the heavy melancholy that is dripping all over his widowed mom Betty
(Maria Gillain), to try and bring some sunshine back into her life.
Magique! is a childís fantasy tale of sorts, and I appreciate how director
Philippe Muyl didnít have to resort to quick and easy ways of slapping CGI over
everything, or to come up with out of this world characters to entertain the
audience. It parallels the resourcefulness of the child protagonist Tommy in having
to find innovative real world solutions to address real world issues, and what more
when opportunity presented itself with a circus troupe being caught up
administratively without a venue to perform?
The use of the circus provided plenty of wonderful imagery, and an avenue where
wonderful new characters get introduced, each holding a promise and potential in
which to cheer up Betty, or to teach young and impressionable Tommy a thing or two
about life. As they get introduce in little episodes, what mattered was how the
performers and entertainers were presented without their larger than life facade,
being people who are just about your average Joe, dispensing their two cents worth
of advice through their natural abilities. It's akin to stripping down the outer
facade to see what's inside that really matters, which is more important.
Which speaks volumes because Betty's melancholy comes from having to run their honey
farm almost all by herself, and facing the emptiness in her life through not having
a husband share the burden of earning enough to keep the farm afloat, and to bring
up a child. She turns to online dating sites to look for true love from the profiles
of strangers, and I guess there are more unsuccessful stories than successful ones
from that avenue. The film may run like a pro-family movie in Betty's attempt and
Tommy's unwitting assistance in emphasizing the quest for a more complete family
unit, and while there's a hint of romance in the air, nothing beats the mother-son
relationship and love they have for each other.
Technically, this film is brilliant and brings about the spectacle of cinema with
its lush cinematography, and plenty of postcard perfect scenes. It's almost like a
musical, almost, because while there are songs weaved into the narrative, they're
not complete songs per se, more like singing the same lines which often reiterates
and reinforces common feelings at different points in the story. It might be a tad
disappointing that you won't get treated to an actual circus performance, even while
there's an alternative compensation to that loss since you're more than primed to
see all the circus characters in actual action.
You cannot leave Magique! without feeling that the cast had fleshed out their
characters really well, except perhaps for Cali whoís a French musician in real
life, may have drawn out some of your attention from this make believe, reel world,
to the real one. Otherwise, you would be hard pressed not to have been charmed by
the charismatic Louis Dussol (those cheeks just call out to you for pinching)
playing a kid with that kind of spunk and a sincere heart whom all parents would
probably wish for in their own, or want to provide Gillainís Betty a hug that will
indicate her time for love will come soon enough.
Approach Magique! with a child like innocence, and you may find yourself enjoying
every moment in this simple tale filled with a wonderful acting cast, with a
spectacle best seen on the big screen.
Review by Stefan Shih