The Love Witch Movie Review
So I watched a movie called The Love Witch. The question is: why did I watch a movie called The Love Witch?
For starters, 97% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes liked the damn thing, it was recently released on DVD and, frankly, it seemed likely that there would be some gratuitous sex and boobage.
And there is, to some degree. But what I didn’t know? That the movie is a homage to sexploitation films of the 1960’s, with stilted writing, awkward acting and strange plotting. Those kinds of movies don’t get made anymore for a reason—the shitty writing, acting and plots all play a role—and just because your movie is purposefully stilted, poorly acted and strange doesn’t make it better or more entertaining.
Writer/director Anna Biller’s The Love Witch looks like it was torn from another era, and I suppose I’ll give her props for that because I don’t want to oppose the 97% of critics who love the movie because in part it looks like the piece-of-shit movies from 50 years ago (in fairness, it does have a technicolor beauty to it). And I suppose I’ll give her props for slathering a layer of subtle (or not-so-subtle) feminism on top, which is the real juice that probably has critics tickled.
But frankly, The Love Witch isn’t a movie you’ll ever see or need to see, nor is it one I’d recommend to a single friend because I can’t picture him or her sitting through this without saying, “What the hell was Erik thinking recommending this funky movie to me?”
There is something oddly alluring about The Love Witch, something entrancing that kept me from giving into the urge to turn the movie off after 20 minutes. Like the bewitching Samantha Robinson, who transcends every scene she’s in, the movie has a power that’s hard to shake. It’s not nearly as entertaining as it needs to be, but The Love Witch keeps you intrigued, curious as to where it will go and how it will end.
It’s an odd phenomenon—rarely does a movie like this make any kind of impact, and The Love Witch, while extremely overrated and overhyped, has some gripping power. Still, its embrace of a genre and style that long ago disappeared, and for good reason, means it deserves few fans outside the most devoted of cinephiles.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.