From Director Sylvain Chomet
The Illusionist (L'Illusionniste) film poster

Based upon a lost script by French filmmaker Jacques Tati, the story behind The Illusionist’s production is fascinating in its own right. But ignorance of that narrative isn’t an obstacle to the appreciation of this rewarding animation.

The illusionist is disillusioned as his antiquated art is slowly killed by the emerging thrills of rock ‘n’ roll. Dispiriting gigs take him to Edinburgh where the adoration of the youthful Sophie reinvigorates his mojo.

The film’s wonderfully detailed visuals give the unhurried plot a magical element in spite of its saddening conclusion. Unflinchingly honest, The Illusionist is a gently charming wonder.

8/10

Words by Ben Hopkins
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