Customer Reviews: Practical Magic (1998)
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on April 26, 2001
I bought this movie after it came out and pop it in every couple of months. "Practical Magic" is a wonderful, have-fun movie that is just right as a Halloween movie for any age (save maybe very, very young viewers.) I know because every Halloween party I've had, this movie has delighted my guests.
Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are wonderful as two sisters in this movie. Their on-screen chemistry is amazing. You can't help but smile as they joke with each other and interact because it reminds you of how you were with a close sibling or how you wish you could be with one.
Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest are amazing. As supporting actresses, they almost steal the show as they are described as the aunts who are "sugar and spice" by the director, Griffin Dunne.
The story is about two sisters who are very close who live with their aunts in what I assume is a New England town. They have the reputation of being "witches" who curse any man who dares love an Owens woman. Of course, Gillian (Nicole Kidman) and Sally (Sandra Bullock) get into a bit of trouble as Gillian's evil boyfriend Jimmy (Goran Visnjic) accidently ends up dead at their hands through self-defense that can be deemed suspicious by anyone else and they try to figure out a way to cover it up. Things get stickier when the Officer Hallet (Adian Quinn) shows up to find the wanted Jimmy and sparks fly between Sally and Officer Hallet. Do they try to send him away and risk Sally losing her one true love? Or do they let him stay and risk Gillian and Sally getting caught while Jimmy's ghost continues to torment Gillian?
This movie is based on a third of Alice Hoffman's wonderful book by the same name. For those of you who have seen the movie (spoiler alert) and are curious about the book, you won't be disappointed. Remember the woman that wished to take another woman's husband? Well, you get to find out what happens to her as well as the adventures that Sally's daughters get into as they grow up. In other words, the book is better than the movie, but the movie is just as fun as the book.
As for those of you who like DVDs and their extra features, it is chock-full of them. From the game of "find the ingredients to mix the love potion" you have to search through the various features in the DVD to click on "ingredients" and get clues as to mixing the love potion which opens up a whole behind-the-scenes featurette. It also contains trailers, bios, and other little tidbits that were artistically designed well and accompanied by wonderful little chimes and music.
This "witch" movie is not quite as dark as "the Craft" (or ridiculous for that matter) as not as sex-filled as "Witches of Eastwick" but genuinely wholesome, fun and delightful. Especially the "Midnight Margaritas" scene which will have you humming the tune for days. A good recommendation for a Halloween movie for most ages.
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on August 7, 2000
As a Wiccan, I was happily surprised at the treatment of witches in this film. Unlike the power-hungry, psycho teenyboppers of The Craft (a horrendous, disgusting film! ), this movie treated their witches with a light, humorous touch. As a romantic, I couldn't recommend this movie more.
Though the special effects were very Hollywood, you have to keep in mind that this movie was made by Hollywood. No, we can't float off roofs; no, we can't raise the dead. Still, all in all, it was a beautiful movie; an affirmation of witchiness!
There was little treatment of the religion of Wicca, but then again the women were never stated to be Wiccan. They are witches, yes, but that's not necessarily the same thing. Some of my favorite movie lines are in this movie (the other is "Ghostbusters"): "There is no Devil in the Craft."; "You can't practice magic while looking down your nose at it."; and "There's a little witch in all of us."
I love this movie. I will watch it again and again and again. And I find myself singing the songs by Faith Hill and Stevie Nicks (wonderful, magickal Stevie!) at work in the middle of the day.
Buy it. Watch it. Love it.
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on February 18, 2001
No matter what religion you are or how you feel about witchcraft, if you enjoy good acting & a great storyline, you'll like this film. Both Bullock & Kidman are excellent & their characters are well-drawn, likable & familiar. Most women will relate to the loves & losses, trials & errors of these independent young women.
They are, of course, different in some ways. Born into a legacy of witches & dark history, the Owens females live under a curse that destroys any man who gets too close to them. (Then again, some of us may have felt 'cursed' more than once in our love lives...)
Bullock plays Sally, the levelheaded one who is determined to have a "normal" life. She falls in love early (w/a little crafty help from the aunts -Stockard Channing & Dianne Wiest), then marries & has two daughters who look exactly like she & 'Gillie' (Kidman). For a few years, Sally is blissfully happy until the day she hears the cricket chirp - a sign of impending death. After her husband is killed, Sally falls into a depression so deep that only her sister can pull her out.
They have an unbreakable bond - not only of blood & love, but of spirit. The strength of this bond actually saves Gillie's life, when she manages to hook-up with an evil madman who 'comes back' from death. The ending is quite well done.
This was a movie about belief, trust, family & a very old fight - good vs. evil. It was also about a love strong & pure enough to break a centuries-old curse, true enough to save a woman pulled in the depths of true evil. It is touching, satisfying & emotionally uplifting. Rent it! Then rent it again for the soundtrack alone!
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on September 30, 2003
A truly magical ancestress, a witch in very deed, escapes the hangman's noose only to place a curse on herself and her female posterity. What ensues is an enchantingly wonderful, though sometimes dark, tale of two witch sisters who live to deal with the family curse.
Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock star as the witch sisters who approach their upbringing in magic very differently. Bullock's character, the level headed and pragmatic Sally, wants nothing more than to find true love and live a normal life while her sister Gillian (Kidman) wants to live it up and change the men in her life like most people change their socks.
The two join magical forces when one of Gillian's assorted men emerges as a sinister character played by Goran Visnjic. Their adventures seem to have gone well until a lawman (Aidan Quinn) shows up with all too many questions and seems all too familiar to Sally.
Perhaps even more appealing than Kidman and Bullock from the standpoint of screen presence, Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing star as a couple of enchanting -- almost Victorian -- aunts of our two heroines that are absolutely spellbinding and unforgettable.
Practical Magic, regardless of the theme, is not a Halloween flick like Hocus Pocus and should not be avoided by any who might think that it has seasonal appeal.
An enchantingly entertaining film!
Douglas McAllister
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on March 20, 2000
After reading the excellent novel by Alice Hoffman, I was excited to see this movie, since rearely are there any good films made about witches, especially romantic comedies. But 'Practical Magic' is charming. Yes, Aidan Quinn could've done SO much better (he didn't seem all there), but other than that, it's great. Stockard Channing and Dianne Weist are adorable. Channing plays the delightfully abrasice aunt, while Weist is the sweet gentle one (quite a change from her role as the Wicked Queen in NBC's the 10th Kingdom). Kidman is so scatterbrained you have to love her. And, as usual, Sandra Bullock plays the reserved romantic, which suits her acting ability. You can also see ER's Goran Visjinc playing the crazed abusive boyfriend (very different from his ER character). All in all, this movie was excellent, although Quinn's performance was dull. Still worth the money.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 9, 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!)
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on November 14, 2001
One of the best soundtracks in the last decade has to be Alan Silvestri's score for Practical Magic. With songs new and old from the likes of Elvis Presley, Harry Nilsson and Faith Hill, the carefully tailored music fits the film like a Saville Row suit. The story is an original one, part supernatural/witchcraft and part love story, this movie promises romance in both senses of the word. There's a wonderful piece of design work in the girls' house, probably the best and most haunted looking house since Psycho. There is plenty to praise in the actors, who from the oldest generation of women (Aunties Diane Wiest and Stockard Channing) down to the youngest have you in their spell from beginning to end. Nicole Kidman shows her talent for comedy and Sandra Bullock proves she's more than the poor man's Julia Roberts. Goran Visnjic is suitably evil as the unsuitable boyfriend and Aidan Quinn fits in well, despite making a late appearance in the film. The V.H.S. Version I have contains a mini-documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with the two main stars and director Griffin Dunne.
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on January 31, 2000
While many reviews are positive and a few of them negative in this section, I found it to be a fantastic tale about women and the Craft. Yes, Bullock could give a better performance, but I don't think it is about her or Kidman. Instead, I challenge all of the people who have written negative reviews to examine EVERY DAY LIFE and then watch the movie. I found this a heart-warming tale about the "magical" instances in our childhood. As a child, I was told of curses, boogey stories, voodoo, magic and it was left for me to decide what to believe. Depending on the viewer's BELIEFS, the story could or could not happen. The thing that I ultimately think made the movie was the special effects and the composition of the scenes. The director (Dunne) utilized them in a way that they did not stand out. Rather, the effects were blended seemlessly into the film. To those doubters, watch it first, then again, noting the effects. Only after the second time, decide wheather you like it or not. Overall, I found the movie (DVD) captivating. I will be buying this on DVD very soon.
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VINE VOICEon March 9, 2007
This is a movie that, since I bought it, I have watched over and over again. The first few months after I initially bought it, in fact, I would watch it every single Friday night without fail. The neat thing about "Practical Magic" is that it is many things - it is romantic comedy; it is paranormal; it is horror; it is about family; it is about surviving in a community where you are different - it is all those things and more. Beautifully imagined and acted, the story captivates while it carries you along with it.

Sally and Jillian Owens are the latest in a line of witches stemming from Maria Owen in the 1700s. She was set up as a witch and set to be hanged, but using her magic, she caused the rope to break. However, she was exiled to the island on which the current Owens' live; pregnant and alone, she waited for her lover to save her. When he did not, she cast a spell upon herself so that she would never love again; however, she became so bitter over time that it turned into a curse, one passed through the ages, causing any man that was truly loved by an Owens woman to die an untimely death. Jilly (played by Nicole Kidman) revels in her sexuality and role as a witch; Sally (played by Sandra Bullock) longs for a normal life. After Sally's first husband dies and she is just getting her life back together, she receives a frantic call from Jilly, whose boyfriend Jimmy Angelov has apparently snapped. She runs to Arizona to rescue Jilly, but they both end up being taken hostage by Jimmy, who seems completely off his rocker (I can't remember the actor's name right now, but the man who plays Jimmy Angelov is amazing). When he tries to kill Jilly, Sally ends up killing him instead. Desperately trying to come up with a way to get out of the situation, Jilly suggests that they raise him from the dead. This, of course, leads to unfortunate results and Sally is forced to kill him again, and they bury him out back. Gary Hallett (Aidan Quinn), a cop from Tucson, shows up shortly thereafter, looking for Jimmy.

That is a good bit of the basic plot - there is, of course, a great deal more to it and the ending is wonderfully sweet. Everyone who I have made to sit down and watch this movie with me has enjoyed it - even my husband. So, do yourself a favor and buy this movie!
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on October 24, 2015
Love this movie. We had some problems viewing it for some reason. Stopped n buffered alot. Not sure why. Might have been that I ordered the HD version? Not sure. We have HD.

But, Amazon noticed the problem without me saying anything and nicely refunded the money. Which makes me happy I work with this company. They work with you, not against you.

I highly recommend this movie. It's silly, funny, with everyone guessing what's going to happen next. Love the actors in this one. You can't go wrong with this one. Great family movie.
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