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Good, but Far from Perfect
on December 10, 2002
This movie certainly is a mixed bag! Not only does it mix in several very good and poignant scenes with some utterly illogical and cheesy ones, but compresses within it no less than five plot strands!
Gillian and Sally (Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock) are the latest in a long line of witches, stemming from their ancestress Maria Owens who was banished from her village on the crimes of witchcraft. Pregnant with her lovers child, and devastated that he never came to rescue her, she placed a spell upon herself that she might never again feel the pain of love. However, this spell became a curse, and for the next three hundred years, the men that any Owens women ever loved would reach an untimely end. This is what happened to Gillian and Sally's father, and soon after their mother died also of a broken heart, leaving them to stay with their quirky aunts Frances and Jet (Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest). The four make a loving family, but as Jet puts it - 'with the sweets comes the sour', as the close-knit town community despise the strange and eccentric Owens women...except of course when its in their best interests to go to the aunts for help with their life-love.
Exposed to the desparate and all-consuming nature of love that is witnesses in the aunt's customers Sally decides that she never wants to fall in love. Gillian however can't wait, and while she scampers away from the town as soon as she's old enough, Sally creates a spell in her childhood of the man she is to fall in love with - a man so perfect she feels he can not possibly exist, with qualities such as being able to flip pancakes, ride a horse backwards, and have one green and one blue eye. Her logic is if he doesn't exist, she can never have her heart broken.
Time will tell differently however - by their adulthood Sally is happily married and living a blissfully normal life with two daughters and Gillian is involved with a gorgeous -but dangerous- man. Sally truly loves her husband however, and when the curse takes effect she is devastated. Gillian has problems of her own however when her boyfriend Jimmy gets violent. When Sally goes to rescue her sister they are both kidnapped by Jimmy and manage to escape only by loading his liquior bottle with belladonna, a powerful sedative. Unfortunatly, Jimmy doesn't survive the experience.
Terrified, the sisters perform a ressurection spell, but when Jimmy returns as something 'dark and un-natural' they panic, knock him out and bury him in the backyard. But not all things stay buried, least of all Jimmy, and when a police-dectective from Arizona comes investigating his disappearence the house, Sally is petrified - especially since he has one green eye and one blue one...
Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are great as Gillian and Sally, and they carry full weight of the mish-mashed storyline on their shoulders. Kidman's accent faulters at times (especially whenever she says 'aunts') but on the whole performs the carefree, irresponsible younger sister very well. Bullock as the older, more composed and sensible Sally is just as good, and the two can easily pull off the sister bond.
Unsurpringly Stockard Channing and Diane Weist create the aunts perfectly, with Channing as the sharper, more eccentric Frances and Weist as the gentle and kind Jet.
Aidan Quinn however is nothing to sing and dance about. He enters the movie quite late, and then leaves just as early and Bullock has far more chemistry with the actor playing her first husband, even though he's in the movie for an even shorter time (or maybe its just because I love their run 'n jump kiss so much!)