the Illusionist (2010)

from the 2010 animated film "The Illusionist"

Muted pastel scenery and bittersweet moments set the mood in this fantastic movie The Illusionist” ( L’Illusionniste), a British/French film based from the script written by Jaques Tati. It is suggested by some that the inspiration behind Tati’s script was a letter sent to his estranged daughter, but regardless of the true nature to the story, the end result is a touching piece of animation.

Set in the late 1950’s a down on his luck magician in Paris begins to lose popularity and decides to relocate to find more work. Along the way he meets a small girl who believes his tricks are true magic and begins to follow the aging performer along his search for work.  Empathy for like performers (such as a manic out of work clown) pop in and out of the story while the Illusionist tries to keep the true illusion alive in the eyes of his young follower. A very touching story woven into a fitting scheme of artistic style blends the emotion needed to watch this film. It was originally released in the states but was overlooked by a lot of American audiences and was out of theaters too soon for most to catch.  One of my considerations for classifying a film as successful animation is if the movie can tell a story without relying on the usage of distinguishable dialogue. The appeal of a tale that’s told through imagery makes it understood by anyone and will not constrain it to knowledge of any language. The Illusionist falls in this category nicely and leaves us with a masterpiece of animation. A great movie to watch with a minor amount of visual adult situations, The Illusionist is a definite must see.

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