Sunday Movie Review – Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review. Happy Halloween! And seeing as today is Halloween and wanting to keep with the theme here, I want to share my review of Practical Magic. This is the title of the book written by Alice Hoffman, an author whose books I always enjoy. As what often happens, the book is collecting dust in my Kindle, but I came across the movie version. What I found interesting were the comments I read on the book page on Amazon. . .


Whenever I watch a movie made after the book, I always go over to Amazon to read reviews to read opinions from reviews on whether the book was better than the movie or vice versa. Interestingly enough, this book has thousands of reviews, but the most poignant points on most all comments from those who’ve both read the book and seen the movie were that THE MOVIE was better than the book! Also, the movie strayed a bit from the original book, yet, many appreciated the movie version more. With that said, now I’m curious to the read the book. But for now, I’m sharing my review of the movie version.


The book and blurb:



*25th Anniversary Edition*—with an Introduction by the Author!

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of MagicMagic Lessons, and The Book of Magic.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

“Splendid…Practical Magic is one of [Hoffman’s] best novels, showing on every page her gift for touching ordinary life as if with a wand, to reveal how extraordinary life really is.”—Newsweek

“[A] delicious fantasy of witchcraft and love in a world where gardens smell of lemon verbena and happy endings are possible.”—Cosmopolitan


My 5 Star Movie Review:


This was a fun and entertaining romp of love, sisterhood and of course, magic.


Gillian and Sally are sisters. They were born from a line of witches. Their mother died of a broken heart when they were little girls, undoubtedly, because of the Owens family curse – any man to fall in love with an Owens woman would suffer a fatal curse.


Gillian and Sally went to live with their very witchy aunts as children. They both had ‘the gift’, only Sally wanted nothing to do with it until she was faced with a tragic situation, then all bets were off. Gillian was the wild child, free-spirt, and all she did was seem to get herself in trouble. But her clear psychic connection with her sister always alerted Sally when Gillian was in trouble.


Now, the present, Sally’s husband dies in an accident and spurs her to pack up her things and her own girls now and moves back into her aunts’ home. Meanwhile, Gillian had run off with some crazy guy who turns out to be a maniac wanting to be a vampire who ultimately becomes violent with her and it’s Sally to the rescue.


To get into all the shenanigans that happens because of Gillian, would be spoilers, but suffice it to say, the girls try a few methods to get rid of James, and Sally thinks she finally may have killed him, only to find this guy won’t die and tries to get inside Gillian’s body.


In the meantime, a good looking detective comes around looking for this James guy because of the evil he’s done to others. He can’t figure out whether or not the girls have killed him or not. All the while the detective gets swooped into the scene where James is trying to possess Gillian’s body, and with a bird’s eye view of the mayhem and magic going on, he realizes he’s dealing with witchcraft and not your average murder.


Throughout the action there becomes a strong attraction between Sally and the detective, but Sally is apprehensive to follow her feelings because she’s afraid of her mother’s curse taking another potential love away from her. Will she take another chance on love with her fear of the curse? I can’t tell you that. Will we see Sally, the ex- non willing participant for witchcraft form a coven of strangers to form an exorcism on Gillian? We surely will!


Despite my description, this book is anything but scary – oh, except maybe the possession part, kind of.. But it’s a fun movie to watch with plenty of love, magic and entertainment, oh, and some fine music in this film too!



I have two videos to share from this movie. One shows snippets of the film, the other is seven minutes long with actual scenes from the movie. A superb cast, starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.




I’d recommend this fun, magical chickflick for a cozy Halloween watch.




40 thoughts on “Sunday Movie Review – Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

  1. Thanks, Debby! You are right. It isn’t very often that people prefer the movie. It’s been such a long time since I’ve watched it, but you’ve made me want to have a look at it again. And, I suspect that there’s also a copy of the novel on my Kindle. Very timely recommendation!


  2. This is one of my favourite films! 😀 How unusual that people preferred the movie over the book, which I didn’t even know about. Goran Višnjić was superb as the maniac and the Midnight Margaritas scene always makes me smile. We watched it again just the other night. Great review, Deb! 👌


  3. It bugs me that I can’t remember what titles of Alice Hoffman I’ve read. All of my searches didn’t come up with one I recognized. Maybe it was a short story in the New Yorker. Anyway, the actors in your review make the movie sound appealing. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are among my favorites. Thanks, Debby! 😀


    1. No doubts you’re confused as Hoffman has written so many books. But, as the many reviews say, the movie is better, so hopefully you will find it and enjoy. 🙂 x


  4. Usually I find the books better than the movie, but this sounds like one of those exceptions. And good timing, Debby, as I need something to watch tonight. Thanks for the review and the recommendation. Happy Halloween!


  5. Missed this post somehow. Not matching the intended audience gender for this movie, I might give it a pass–despite liking both Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. On the other hand, who knows. 🙂


    1. Thanks Liesbet. It really is a fun romp. Only, Netflix isn’t showing it right now. Maybe Prime? I watched it an American channel I pay extra to have – AMC. ❤


  6. I saw the film years ago and really enjoyed it – I never realised it was adapted from a book!
    I try hard not to compare film adaptations to their source material, as they are such different mediums. I get fed up reading people’s criticisms of films for not including this, or that, from a book – if it’s a good, substantial book plot, there really isn’t room to fit it all into a 2-3 hour film.


    1. So true Deb! But what I found most interesting about these reviews was that the majority said the movie was better! That’s unusual. But I know the book was fairly long, and it seems the movie strayed a bit and of course had to chop out a lot, but it seems even the book readers enjoyed the movie more. 🙂 xx


  7. I missed this movie entirely when it came out. It does have some great actors in the cast. I will track it down when I need to escape the madness of human civilization on planet earth for a couple of hours…


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