During the month of October, the staff here at Nerds are sharing some of our favorite spooky cinema selections each day to get into the spirit of Halloween.
Today’s recommendation is Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock (as Sally) and Nicole Kidman (as Gillian). This 1998 film about two witchy sisters will get you into the holiday spirit for sure. It’s not a traditional horror movie, but it does have some good old fashion suspense and otherworldly elements that help set the spooky tone. The main characters are, of course, witches, but that is not the scary part. The creepy factor is brought by the evil human Jimmy Angelov (Goran Višnjić) and his even more evil spirit. Along with the supernatural elements of the plot, the movie also has a bit of comedic flair and some romance. I couldn’t help laughing when Gillian gives Sally whipped cream to use to draw a pentagram for a spell, and she can’t resist scooping up a fingerful to taste. I was laughing again later when Detective Hallet (Aiden Quinn) asks Sally if she killed Angelov, and she responds truthfully with, “Yeah, a couple of times.”
There are so many great scenes in this movie, but the top of the list has to be the “midnight margaritas” scene in which the sisters are awakened by their quirky aunts (Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest) making margaritas in the middle of the night. They proceed to drink and dance around the kitchen in their pajamas. I guarantee you will not be able to hear “Coconut” again without thinking of this scene.
Another favorite scene, or I should say series of scenes, are the multiple times throughout the movie we are reminded of the strong bond the sisters share. The mantra “My blood, your blood, our blood” is repeated throughout the film to show they are linked forever. The girls even seem to have a psychic link when they know what is happening in each others lives, even when they are miles apart. This bond ultimately comes in handy when Sally needs to rescue her sister from the evil spirit of her ex-boyfriend, Angelov.
My favorite part about this movie is the over-arching theme to accept and love yourself, regardless of what the world thinks. While the sisters and their family have always been outcasts because they are witches, the act of bringing the community together breaks a generations-long curse, and they are finally accepted just for who they are.
Practical Magic truly has something for everyone. It is funny, scary, romantic, and tugs at your heart strings — all rolled into one great movie.