The Love Witch (2016)

I have to admit I have watched this film on numerous occasions and even more since it came out on DVD – you might think ‘why?’ Ok let me divulge.

From the opening scene when the titles appear in front of Elaine’s eyes you are hooked and drawn into a hypnotic dreamlike world of witchcraft, spells and sorcery.
The story centres around Elaine a beautiful young woman (who is a witch) who has a nervous breakdown after her ex husband Jerry ‘leaves’ her.

She moves into a apartment in San Francisco in the hope of finding a man that will love her. Elaine meets Trish, the landlord of the apartment, and they decide to have tea together. What follows is probably the most open and free conversation to take place on what men and women actually want and need. It is shot with a backdrop of sensual harp music, costumes and lovely furnishings, the whole scene really does look beautiful. This is not surprising since the director Anna Biller also did the production and costumes design. We learn a lot about Elaine from this scene and what she ultimately desires.

Elaine then goes to her apartment and starts working on love potions, casting a spell before sleeping. What follows in the next few days is more than Elaine could have hoped for, her sorcery has perhaps worked too well. She meets a few men who succumb to her spell but they are not the man of her dreams. Will Elaine find the man she wants that loves her the way she desires, if so at what cost?

The Love Witch raises a few questions about society and life. Are women seen as objects for men? Are men incapable of love? Is love a weak emotion? Do women use love to control men? Is there such thing as love? Or too much love? These are definitely topics that an anthropologist, feminist or psychologist could discuss for sometime – perhaps you can too, so I won’t go into it as I am writing a review not a thesis.

With its pastiche style and strong homage to the 1960s and Hammer Horror films, The Love Witch is a film that resonates with you for a while after you have seen it. It is a perfect blend of stoic and bad acting (purposefully), melodramatic and other worldly pieces, its like a rich Cheesecake – you know too much is bad for you but you can’t help having seconds or thirds.

Rating 4/5


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