Practical Magic (1998)

Practical Magic (1998)
  • Time: 104 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
  • Director: Griffin Dunne
  • Cast: Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Aidan Quinn, Evan Rachel Wood


Sally and Gillian Owens have always known they were different. Raised by their aunts after their parents’ death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical–their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But the invocation of the Owens’ sorcery also carries a price–some call it a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that threatens the lives of all the Owens women.

One comment

  • More straightforward than the advertisements would suggest, Practical Magic is, at its worst, mildly interesting and not altogether with direction; at its best, it convincingly captures the strengths and intimacies which comprise familial bonds. No doubt this is attributable to screenwriter Robin Swicord, who adapts Alice Hoffman’s novel and whose previous work is highlighted by her sterling adaptation of Little Women.

    Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star as the long-tressed Sally and Gillian Owens, the latest progeny of a long line of witches. Lest you think the casting is ridiculous, Bullock and Kidman do convey a genuine, sisterly warmth with one another. Sally and Gillian can best be described as two different sides of the same soul. Gillian is the wild, vivacious flirt who pinballs from man to man (“What wouldn’t I give to fall in love,” she admits). The subdued and responsible Sally stays behind with her aunts, Jet (Dianne Wiest) and Frances (Stockard Channing), who cast a love spell upon her to help her fall in love. She does, deeper than they expected, and settles into a normal life with her husband and two children. The family curse soon comes knocking on her door. The curse, cast by their mother, has any man who falls in love with an Owens woman meet a tragic end. Devastated by her husband’s death, Sally retreats into a deep depression. Only Gillian’s return revives her. Gillian wakes her in the middle of the night and they lie in bed and talk to each other. These scenes possess a wonderful quiet and for a moment, it’s just two women relating to each other in a simple but profound way.

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