The Illusionist
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A supernaturally talented magician attempts to undermine the rigid social structure of turn-of-the-century Vienna by using his powers to win the love of his upper-class, childhood sweetheart in director Neil Burger's cinematic adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser's short story. Though the ill-fated childhood romance between cabinetmaker's son Eisenheim (Edward Norton) and upper-class Sophie von Teschen (Jessica Biel) eventually resulted in the heartbroken young man leaving Austria to explore the world, his dreams of one day reuniting with the beautiful… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The line between truth and illusion is blurred so persuasively that for a moment or two, you may even believe that a romantic costume drama could stand up to all those special-effects blockbusters in the dog days of summer."
‑ Bob Mondello, NPR.org
"What (director Neil) Burger and his colleagues have done is to entrance us with a richly acted, beautifully produced story."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"Dark, dazzling turns by Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel makes it achingly romantic."
‑ Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
"A wonderful period film first and secondarily an interesting mystery-romance that keeps you guessing about the big questions until late in the narrative."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Straddles fascination and irritation"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"With exquisite performances (Giamatti's, in particular), it leaves you thrillingly hovering, happily uncommitted to any one interpretation."
‑ Nick Funnell, Time Out
"Conjures up a world of mystery, romance and suspense."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"A fond animated farewell to Jacques Tati"
‑ Marty Mapes, Movie Habit
"Norton and Paul Giamatti perform wonders, but writer/director Neil Burger ruins the magic, exposing all of his story's tricks by the end."
‑ Brett Michel, Boston Phoenix
"Director Neil Burger effectively evokes a sense of mystery and magic, but the plot grinds too methodically to match the dazzle of the title character's on-stage illusions."
‑ Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique
"You may be temporarily beguiled, but not fooled."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"The story may be less than credible, but the performances are mostly good, and Giamatti makes an especially strong showing."
‑ Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News
"If nothing else, The Illusionist is worth watching solely for Giamatti's Oscar-caliber performance."
‑ Joshua Starnes, ComingSoon.net
"Unabashedly old-fashioned and fantastically pulpy."
‑ Gary Dowell, Baltimore City Paper
"An immaculate and utterly gorgeous murder mystery with the trifecta of wonderful direction, great acting, and a plot that twists and turns at every such occasion."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
More reviews for The Illusionist on Rotten Tomatoes

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