Cast / crew
An elderly Parisian illusionist seeks work in the dwindling music hall scene of Britain and winds up in Scotland. After a private gig where a young poor cleaning girl is enraptured by his magical abilities, he generously buys her a new pair of shoes. She decides to accompany him as he travels to Edinburgh to find further work, eagerly awaiting his next miracle.
L’Illusionniste is a technically terrific animation with a nice nostalgic 70’s Disney look and an impressively beautiful Edinburgh setting but I simply never got past when Alice, a teenage girl, wordlessly attaches herself to the elderly illusionist and gets him to buy her stuff he can’t afford. She is introduced as a hard-working cleaner in a pub but is supposed to be so naïve that she doesn’t realise that people earn money to buy stuff; she sees him as miraculously producing a new pair of shoes for her. Because her naïveté isn’t quite sold, most of the rest of the movie feels like she’s taking advantage of him. She isn’t; she truly believes in magic, generously cooks for all the guests in the hotel and eventually hooks up with a guy who doesn’t buy her anything. But because Alice’s complete naïveté isn’t sold initially, it’s only at the end with his message to her and the showing of a photograph he carries with him, that the plot comes into clear focus. But it didn’t need to be a late save.
This movie contains attempted suicide.
Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.