Anna Biller not only directed this film, but wrote the screenplay, designed costumes, painted set pieces, recorded music, and even wove a pentagram RUG! This movie is a labor of love that exceeds the expectations of low-budget projects. If anything, this film is more beautiful than anything released in the past 20 years. Oh, the story, acting, casting, everything really, is 100% perfection.
The Love Witch is a powerful brew of politics, passion, art, philosophy (by maubreyhampton)
The Love Witch, by writer, director, editor, composer and designer Anna Biller will be the most unusual and exciting film you will be lucky to see this Summer. It is impossible to describe in the space allotted here, except to say that it is an allegory about being female in society cast in the guise of type of thriller. What makes the film so unusual is its serious and fearless project of using devices associated with classical Hollywood narrative and bringing them up to date in a way with themes that seem as applicable to today's 24/7 social media as any previous era. There are things <more>
in this movie that today's audiences are not used to seeing, everything from older lighting and acting styles, to rear projection, special mention should be made of David Mullen, the cinematographer, who crafts a visual style that apparently has not been used in decades! to carefully story boarded shots. A truly independent film in every sense, The Love Witch, though it does have humor and eroticism in it, is in the end a kind of tragic drama, whose intent seems to be to get we in the audience to think more for ourselves about matters of consequence. In fact the film is so dense that it is worth revisiting more than once. Everybody involved is excellent and the film's star Samantha Robinson should be one to watch. Her performance brings pathos as well as beauty to the film and helps us to actually identify with the kind of character who is not normally represented in either studio or or independent productions. I hope this film gets the widest attention and opens up an equally wide conversation about the cinema and life.
Seixest, most vibrant and daringly original cinematic vision of 2016! (by crackersred)
The film is a work of genius, even way more powerful than I imagined it would play from just watching the trailer alone. This was no throwback to the 1960s, no retread of nostalgia that I may have initially been led to believe.Truth be told, I'm not even sure I fully absorbed it on a single viewing, I was too busy being totally seduced and turned on by every sumptuous frame, but I know it all made sense in the subconscious. On the surface alone, it's one of the sexiest films I've ever seen, on its interior, a mandala of sex politics. Totally hypnotic, I walked out literally <more>
spellbound, and have already seen it twice in the theaters. I could go and on because it's one of those films that got me excited about cinema again, the work of a true individual vision, and it's a film I'll be revisiting a lot. A true cult classic, and Film freaks everywhere have taken notice!
I'm happy this time-culture clash exists. The Love Witch is a pitch-perfect pastiche of late 60s, early 70s exploitation movies. A witty examination of shifting attitudes toward gender politics, sexual relations and male-female desire from a vantage point 50 years on by a female director with an obvious affection/obsession for genre and a deep knowledge of the source material. Visually, the look and feel of the era's style of film is perfectly recreated. So much so, as I watched I sometimes had to remind myself that this was made only last year in 2016. The occasional and very <more>
intentional glimpses of modern cars parked on streets, and characters talking on mobile phones were, probably, intended to shake the viewer out of that particular delusion. Perhaps, this was a budget constraint cleverly used by Biller to the movie's advantage, as self-reflexive moments like these seem to serve as reminders of the artifice of cinema and cultural style.Although The Love Witch is a 'feminist' movie, it's not polemically scathing or mean-spirited. In fact, quite the opposite holds true. The Love Witch is gentle and playful; at times sympathetic and forgiving. It is often satirical and ironic and, on occasion, just plain bonkers and laugh-out-loud funny. The dialogue is suitably stilted and the cast's deadpan deliveries are in keeping with the straight/jokey dichotomy of the initial set-up. As for the design and look, Biller who had several jobs on the crew really does nail it. Sets, lighting, costumes, hairstyles, photography, editing, acting, story, script, soundtrack all converge and conspire to recreate several genres and sub-genres popular in their day. However, ultimately The Love Witch is more than just a nostalgic exercise in style. It's a playful tribute to genre movies that actually has quite a lot to say for itself. A retro-style movie with more intelligence and wit than the films it lovingly emulates.
Sumptuous Homage and Neo-Pagan Expose! (by amberapple-1)
A young, beautiful witch moves to a new city in northern California in search of love..does a love spell to attract a man...befriends a woman and seduces her husband...and all havoc breaks loose! Sound like a cheesy 1970s horror flick? It is! In glorious technicolor! This film is downright visionary and beautifully made. Shot in gorgeous 35mm who does that on a small budget these days? with a wildly delirious color palette and painstaking attention to detail well, there are a few modern cars in a few shots, but I forgave that against the rest of the film's visual perfection , this is <more>
sure to be one of the most talked about cinematography achievements of the year. Watching this homage to 1970s horror thrillers is very much like turning on a made for TV movie in 1974 or so: the pacing, the acting styles somewhat stiff and arbitrary , the camera shots, the music, and the only anachronism I noticed apart from the cars was one character's use of a smartphone. This begs the question: were these anachronistic elements intentional? And if so, what kind of homage are we looking at here? But, the seamlessness of the gorgeous visuals aside, the film is also a fascinating take on neo- pagan spirituality modern witchcraft and Wicca , with a surpassing amount of insider-derived knowledge of rituals, jargon and trappings. Ask me how I know... I have no doubt the film will cause some controversy in the pagan community, mostly due to people taking this as literal narrative and not a form of satirical commentary. Elaine is a fascinating character, at times seeming to be shallow and two-dimensional and at others very intricate and surprising. There's a great deal of subversive feminist messaging here as well, with clever references to iconic films like THE ACCUSED and THE STEPFORD WIVES, among others. Feminism is a central theme and yet dealt with in a very unexpected manner, seeming to celebrate stereotypes while simultaneously bashing them. I've seen the film a number of times and see something new with each viewing, as it has many layers of complexity. Definitely one of the year's, if not the decade's, most interesting films. A delightful addition to the horror genre.
A Multifaceted Critique of a Society that is Failing Us All (by naughtyneko)
The Love Witch is storytelling on so many levels, one watching of the film is simply not enough to take it all in. The premise is simple- a young woman, unlucky in love, seeks to turn the tables by invoking witchcraft to add to her considerable physical charms. By the end of the film, however, you realize that this story is really only the starting point.First, to really get the most out of the film, it is important to understand that it is operating on at least two distinct levels. Anna Biller does not so much ask us to suspend disbelief and join the characters for an immersive experience as <more>
she asks us to float over the top, watching the action unfold from an almost clinical position. Think of The Love Witch as a gloriously detailed dollhouse from the late 1960's or early 70's set up in an observation room behind a two-way mirror. A modern-day child is moving the dolls through the rooms, and it is our task to watch not only the story the child creates with the dolls- but the child herself. If you do this, parts of the movie that could otherwise be vexing fall into place. For instance, the anachronism that people have commented on- the juxtaposition of the very groovy 60's vibe and the modern cars and technology that creep into the frame more and more frequently as the film goes on- is not a flaw in the movie making or an indication of low budget. Rather, it is one "level" or reality of the story subtly intruding on the other. Things fall apart in The Love Witch from the perspective of the characters, but that is simply the action of the other reality manifesting on screen.The movie uses this device often to deconstruct the many themes it explores. Its treatment of witchcraft particularly makes use of the duality of narrative. In the "dollhouse", we see the characters acting out the scenes of ritual sacrifice and "sex majik", but the child moving the dolls occasionally turns to us with a knowing smile and says, "Of course, I KNOW magic isn't real, and that it is actually the poisonous plants in the potion that are deadly. But still, isn't this fun?"The Love Witch isn't a movie filled with symbolism. It is symbolism made into a movie. Everything on screen, from Elaine's rainbow-lined dresses to the obvious foreshadowing-in-a-painting artwork is not meant to be a literal, functional object. It is a token in a dream, a stand-in for the thoughts and ideas that hum and flow just below the surface. In the end, this is a story about mental illness. It is about the illness of Elaine, the main character, and the reality she creates in order to survive the illness of society- an illness that is profound, complex, and ultimately overpowering. This is a movie about the toxicity of gender roles and unrealistic expectations. This is a movie about manipulation and rape and insecure attachment. This is a movie that asks us to be the clinicians, for us to diagnose and to treat. This is a movie that knows full well that the patient is already dead, leading us through this exercise in the hope that our journals and notes might help save the next desperate child who plays out her story with the dollhouse.
Anna Biller's labor of love is a unique film experience (by paul-allaer)
"The Love Witch" 2016 release; 120 min. brings the story of Elaine, the self-proclaimed "love witch". As the movie opens, we see Elaine, in a bright red dress, driving her bright red Mustang convertible, on her way to a friend's apartment turns out Elaine's luggage is also bright red . It's not long before we realize that after Elaine's husband Jerry left her "I died but then I was reborn as a witch", and now Elaine uses love potions in her quest to attract Mr. Charming. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for us the viewers , these love <more>
potions are at times too strong. At this point we are not even 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.Couple of comments: first and foremost, this movie is nothing short of a labor of love from Anna Biller, who previously brought us "Viva". Let me count the ways: Biller writes, produces, directs, designs the costumes and set, and composes the original score for this. So yes, this is an "Anna Biller Production" from A to Z. Here Biller uses witchcraft and femininity to bring a visually rich, even at times over-stimulating, story about "women empowerment". Even though the movie is set in today, the movie's tone, style and overall vibe is deeply rooted in the 60s. The photography's color palette is deeply striking as well, where bright colors are jumping at you. I must admit that during the first 20-15 min., it all seemed like a giant pastiche or send-up of 1960s movies not unlike the Austin Powers movies , but once you get beyond the initial surprise, the movie actually settles and is far deeper than just a joke or a send-up even if you'll find that plentiful in the movie of course . Special kudos to Ms, Biller for the exquisite set designs, in particular keeping in mind this movie was made for a nickel and a dime certainly by Hollywood standards . My comments would be incomplete without mentioning the outstanding performance by Samantha Robinson whom I was not familiar with before this in the title role. Beware: there is quite a bit of nudity in the film, so if that bothers you, you may wish to stay away from this movie. Bottom line: I can honestly tell you that this movie is one of the more unique films I've seen this year, but "The Love Witch" delivers, and then some.I had seen the trailer for this, and recently "The Love Witch" opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended so-so about 10 people altogether , but those who were there clearly enjoyed it quite a bit, with frequent laughing and hollering especially from the women in the audience! . If you are in the mood for a truly unique film that is "way out there", if not beyond that, I might suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "The Love Witch" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
I still remember the first time I saw stills for The Love Witch. I was shocked I'd never heard of this 70s film... until I checked the release date and realized it was a 2016 film. First things first: director Anna Biller is an absolute genius. She not only directed the film but also made the sets and costumes and edited the film herself, assuring total creative control. The film really looks and feels like a complete camp 70s throwback and that's absolutely due to the behind the scenes care Biller but into her masterwork. The film's titular Love Witch is Elaine Samantha Robinson <more>
, a young woman who mysteriously departs San Francisco after her husband Jerry "left" her the film reveals in flashback that Jerry actually died . Elaine is desperate for love and believes if she subjugates herself completely by cooking and being the perfect woman, that she will eventually earn the love of her "prince". Elaine also practices witchcraft and uses potions to try and get the men in her life to love her. But once they do and become weak, needy and dependent, she finds them repulsive and can't wait to get rid of them. This is a film that wears its influences on its sleeve seriously, there is a whole scene in a bar where the thesis of the film is basically discussed by the characters . But that doesn't make it weak. Instead the whole thing is incredibly tonely consistent. This wouldn't typically be my type of thing, but it's impossible not to watch and come away with great respect for Biller as an artist and filmmaker in complete control of her own vision.
This review of The Love Witch is spoiler free**** 4/5 "WHAT YOU CALL love is a borderline personality disorder...or worse." If there was ever an awards season like the Oscars for originality in horror, then The Love Witch's writer-director and editor Anna Biller, will take every category home with her. It presents itself like a 1960s-70s film that happens to be coming out this year, its delivery is Stepford Wives but its execution is off-kilter indie and it's wonderful. Biller's love for art is clear here presenting her main character Elaine Samantha Robinson , whose <more>
favourite colour is red driving down the freeway in her red convertible, talking about her life and love in a timely narration giving the audience an unblinking eye. Her story is simple yet exceptional, we learn within the first few minutes' film that she had a husband who adored her, but after his death she was resurrected as a love witch. She has strong emotional feelings towards men, she even has a dream of finding her prince charming, having a garish wedding and riding into the forest on a unicorn. She's essentially a counterpart into the family values of 1987s The Stepfather, pointedly making her fantasies almost become realities. She finds a lot of men in her journeys, there is a technique which Elaine uses, she seduces men by using sex and love spells by mixing fruits and hallucinogenic herbs which she just happens to be carrying in her inventory, along with her 70s-esqe bric-a-brac. You have to credit Biller, for populating her character with a heart for men but also giving her emotional heft, only few actors can deal with the depression of losing someone close to them and give brazen performances it looks here that Biller had her heart set on Robinson. Who looks the part with her lavish apartment covered in her paintings of 'brutal love' but also dressing up in transparent clothing and flawlessly looking like a fluorescent pink princess from the 1960s which Biller also designed . The film's concept sounds simple enough, and it is, but there is a bigger picture as Elaine soon finds out that love cannot be forced or going by the soundtrack which Biller wrote "Love is a beautiful thing." Sure there is a lot to take in but each scene is exceptionally lavish, each moment is pulled through an excellent degree of goodness yes; it's weird but with something this good there's just no turning away.However The Love Witch isn't perfect, there is a flaw, there is a beautiful pictured mock medieval wedding scene that outstays it's welcome, but other than that it's fair to say that this film couldn't be timelier and what a time to come out.VERDICT: Aesthetically colourful, beautifully presented and artfully mastered. The Love Witch is strangely poignant, but it's a triumph...love is a beautiful thing.