Urban Cinefile
"He has a wonderful sense of humour and is constantly in a side show, circus manner, juggling people's energies in order to get what he wants."  -Marton Csokas on xXx director Rob Cohen
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday July 12, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) Owens come from a long line of witchcraft practitioners including their maiden aunts (Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest), who raised them. Part of that legacy involves a curse on the men in their lives, leading Sally into a tragic longing for true love and Gillian to a pursuit of loveless affairs. The plot thickens when the two sisters kill Gillian’s boyfriend (Goran Visnjic), in self defence. The women try to hide from the repercussions of their deed, even as good-hearted cop Gary Hallet (Aidan Quinn) tries to help them. Sally recognises in Hallet some of the qualities that she as a child dreamt up for a spell to identify an impossible male, so she would never have the misfortune to fall in love. Oooops….

"Magic stirred with a light touch comes to life in Practical Magic, a tale of modern day witches who stir up a brew of trouble. I enjoyed the film far more on DVD than I did originally on the big screen. The relationship between the sisters works beautifully: Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are total opposites in every way and are delightful to watch. Just as they play superbly against each other, so too do Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing, who provide many delectable moments.

In two short featurettes, we meet the filmmakers & cast and get a feel for the ambience onset. Even though they had never previously met, Bullock and Kidman quickly establish great chemistry as onscreen sisters. Kidman explains how she has worked mainly with men in her career, and had always wanted to work with Bullock. The project sounded fun, she says. "They act exactly like sisters" director Griffin Dunne observes: they fight, they laugh and understand each other intuitively. They have great body language even when there is no dialogue. Kidman was working with Stanley Kubrick on Eyes Wide Shut when she was first approached for the role; the shoot began the day after EWS was finished. "She has a funny side, as well as having extraordinary depth" says Dunne of Kidman, while producer Di Novi adds, "She inhabits the role in a way that's fascinating to watch; she works from the inside out."

The best insight comes in the commentary with Dunne, Di Novi, Bullock and composer Alan Silvestri, who each contribute to different facets of the filmmaking process. The scene is set by Silvestri, who explains the rationale for the tone of the music throughout.

It's light, frivolous entertainment, and with thankfully straightforward navigation, superb picture quality and sound, it's easy to unwind and be whisked away into a world of spells, magic and romance."
Louise Keller

Email this article


CAST: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Dianne Wiest, Stockard Channing, Aidan Quinn

DIRECTOR: Griffin Dunne

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

DVD Distributor: Roadshow
DVD RELEASE: December 11, 2000

Commentary Track with producer, director, composer & Sandra Bullock

The Cauldron – 2 short features

Theatrical Trailer
Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020