Film Club Friday: The Love Witch
As much as I love Folklore Friday, there's just so many topics I want to talk about every week and as a Gemini, it's hard to limit myself. One thing I've been dying to talk about more is witch movies. So I figured Fridays could be split between Folklore Friday and a Film Class Friday! On Film Club days I'll talk about a witch movie I love and why.
For this first time I decided I wanted to talk about one of my favorite movies--The Love Witch. This movie is compelling, generally accurate, and so so aesthetically pleasing. It's vibrant, charming, and intriguing as all hell.
The story follows a young, beautiful witch named Elaine and her many failures in love. What's so great about the film in this aspect is that it shows how every time she uses magic for love, it backfires--which is incredibly true in real life too. Either her target becomes to clingy or ends up physically harmed or worse. Love magic is a messy business and this film wants you to know that. And throughout the film, most all representations of witches and witchcraft are pretty accurate.
The movie doesn't shy away from classic (but to many modern witches, unpleasant) charms like witches jars--which are commonly filled with urine. Real witchcraft is more than burning some sage and drinking a cup of tea. It's not easy work and it's not always glamourous--but we do it because we have faith. And, overall, the way Elaine expresses her experiences with and faith in magic it very real and relatable.
A lot of what Elaine says in regards to magic and its importance in her life are nearly word for word what I feel fellow witches and I say to non-witches, in an effort to explain the craft.
Also, in the film, witchcraft is a deep source of female empowerment--which is the main reason why women are so often drawn to practice the craft. It even tackles the demonization of women--whether they are witches or not--for being openly sexual. Throughout history, female sexuality has been silenced through violence against women and this movie pulls no punches about it.
It shows how witchcraft can seem even life saving to so many practicing witches. I know in my case, there have been so many times where I've felt so comforted by my craft in the same way others must feel when they pray to their God.
Elaine is a strong female lead with a history of trauma that she's done her best to move past. And like most witches I know, she found the craft just when she needed it most, and she uses it to the fullest to protect herself as best she can. Though she has her faults, in the end she's such a hopeless dreamer that you can't help but feel some sympathy for her. You want to see her find her prince charming. You want her to win--as bratty as she is sometimes.
Another thing I love so much about the film is that it was written, edited, directed, produced, set and art decorated, and costume designed by one woman--Anna Biller. Biller put her heart and soul into the film to make it the colorful fantasy it became, and it creates such a curated, powerful feminist experience. Every scene is packed with beauty and strength.
You don't want to look away from the screen for even a moment--just in case you might miss something. There's just so much magic in every second. It's like an eye spy of magical items. Overall I'd give the movie a 9/10 just because the acting can be weak at times--but nothing lower than that because otherwise, it's marvelous.