The Love Witch
A retro throwback that is filmed in the style of the late 60’s / early 70’s. B-movie earnest dialogue, coupled with sumptuous sets, gorgeous lead, and modern commentary? The Love Witch is a gem that will go into cult status and have people talking for a long time.
Set anachronistically in modern times, Elaine is a recently converted witch moving to a new town trying to escape her past. She is heart broken over the recent death of her husband and is on the prowl to find a man that will love her. Settled in her new location, the film follows her attempts to seduce suitors with a combination of sex appeal and witch spells, all with results going awry. Will Elaine find a man that will love her?
Immediately, the viewers are drawn to the distinct visual look of the film. If the look of technicolor and the film grain did not give it away, there are also other things such as the use of rear screened view of Elaine driving her car. The attention to detail to the set, the costume, and especially the colors are a visual feast.
Speaking of visuals, the main lead, the love witch herself Elaine, is played by Samantha Robinson effortlessly. Her accent, fashion, and looks will find few that are unable to fall under her alluring spell. Her delivery, vulnerability, and style will be remembered for years to come.
The aural treats continue with the film’s soundtrack as well. The score is a mix of old 60’s classics, (including tracks by Ennio Morricone) and originally composed music form director Anna Biller. More cannot be said about the amount of effort and authorship put into this film by her. Set designs and everything was done by her, perfectly crafted to deliver the vision she desired.
Some of the dialogue spills over into histrionic territory and will undoubtedly get laughs. While this is fun and charming, closer context pulls this to work on two levels. Most of the time the absurd dialogue is delivered when talking about gender roles, woman and man when it come’s to dating and love. Whether it is exaggerating certain stereotypes to an absurd level or flipping the script, The Love Witch manages to have its cake and eat it too.
The film is not without its faults— at a 2-hour length, it did feel overlong near the end. The camp levels were taken to some new heights as well, with the Renaissance Faire being a high (low) point. As with any film in tribute or in the style of the past, if a fresh-eyed film goer were to view this without know the distinct look of the 60s/70s films it is paying tribute to, they very well might not get much out of it. However, I’m confident in saying that people who consider themselves withthe slightest interested in film outside the weekly blockbuster should check it out.