It will be over analysed and hated but there is something within the core of the film that makes The Love Witch fascinatingly different.
We have reached a point in the cinematic time line where visuals are everything. From CGI blockbusters to the minute self made independent films, the images projected are expected to always be of the highest quality. Yet, The Love Witch has completely gone against the grain, and director/producer Anna Biller has taken her film The Love Witch back to the 70’s, when the pictures on the screen were vastly different.
It follows Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a witch in the process of moving to a new house after the ending of a previous relationship. Elaine then takes a personal journey to finding a new lover, but not in the usual way. She leads a trail of destruction with her magic and sorcery in the search for this new man.
The whole film appears perfectly as if it were made during a bygone era. From the sets to the lighting, and from the costumes to even the acting, The Love Witch is like a time capsule and it works perfectly. However, the actual subject matter is not as idyllic.
Playing as feminist film, it actually comes off with a very confused message, and one that is both misogynistic and andronistic. The themes are continuously rammed into shot and it blows up a very strong sense of confusion. It definitely takes away from the actual picture, and at times it does appear laughably surreal.
Samantha Robinson in the central performance gives a brilliantly ethereal portratal, and one that plays soundly with the tone of the picture. Yet the Wickan and magic side of the film feels too outdated and the question of ‘spoof or low budget?’ can be asked during any one of the 120 minutes. The answer feels like a resounding ‘both’.
It will almost certainly be misunderstood. It will be over analysed and hated but there is something within the core of the film that makes The Love Witch fascinatingly different. It’s tacky and crass but for what it is, it does work. Let’s say it’s Under The Skin set in 1974 or Adam West’s Batman throwing his toys out of the top drawer.
It’s bizarre but a thoroughly nostalgic watch.