tek's rating: ¼

Practical Magic (PG-13)
IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Warner Bros.; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; Hulu; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 1998, but I didn't see it until 2021. It's based on a book I haven't read. The movie did not do very well either critically or financially, but it does have a cult fan base. Personally, I liked it, but I didn't love it. Anyway, I've put my review under "supernatural" because it involves witches, but they're really not all that witchy. But there is a ghost, or something. It's supposed to be a comedy, but there's also some drama. It kind of put me in mind of Thelma & Louise, but without so much traveling. And of course, more magic.

It starts with the story of a witch named Maria Owens, who lived centuries ago, and put a spell on herself never to fall in love again. But the spell turned into a curse that affected all of her descendants, so that whenever an Owens woman falls in love, the man she loves is doomed to die, sooner or later. This story is told to two young sisters, descendants of Maria named Sally (Camilla Belle) and Gillian, by their aunts, Frances (Stockard Channing) and Bridget (Dianne Wiest), who raise the girls after both their parents died. Sally never wants to fall in love, so she casts a spell to bring her a man with qualities she didn't think were possible (though they didn't sound so impossible to me).

The movie then flashes forward to the girls as adults (Sally is now played by Sandra Bullock and Gillian by Nicole Kidman.) Sally has stayed in her hometown and tried to be as normal as possible, while Gillian has traveled and had lots of boyfriends. In the main part of the movie, he boyfriend is Jimmy Angelov (Goran Visnjic), who eventually turns abusive. But that's not until some time after Sally's husband has died. Sally has two young daughters now, named Kylie (Evan Rachel Wood) and Antonia, and they all move in with the aunts after Sally's husband dies. Later, after Jimmy assaults Gillian, Sally goes to pick her up and bring her home, but they end up being kidnapped by Jimmy. Sally puts some belladonna in his liquor to make him fall asleep, but it ends up killing him. To avoid a murder charge, Sally and Gillian try to bring him back to life, but that doesn't go well, and they have to kill him again, and bury him in the yard. But that's not the last they'll see of him. Anyway, a few days after that, an investigator named Gary Hallet (Aidan Quinn) shows up looking for Jimmy. And he has the qualities Sally had wished for when she was a kid.

Beyond that, I don't want to say anything about the plot. But I did like the way in which the women in town finally stopped treating the Owenses as outcasts. And I liked various other things about the movie. Probably the most fun part was one night when Sally and Gillian and their aunts are drinking margaritas. And I don't know what else to tell you. But I'm glad I've finally seen the movie.

supernatural & paranormal index