I have nothing but admiration for Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, a heartfelt homage to the great filmmaker and comedic artist Jacques Tati, based on one of his unproduced screenplays. But I wanted to love the film wholeheartedly, and I didn’t.
Tati’s films like Mon Oncle, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, and Playtime, are marvels of comic invention, but they are not so much hilarious as droll. My Merriam-Webster dictionary defines that word as “having a humorous, whimsical or odd quality.”
Chomet has captured all three of those qualities in his lovingly-crafted film, but it remains—
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