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
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,
"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,
"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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