Practical Magic

One of my favorite movies is Practical Magic. It's a romantic comedy that I never tire of watching.

I usually watch it on a Saturday when my husband is busy outside (because it's DEFINITELY a chick-flick!). And it's even better if it's a dark and dreary day, like a rainy afternoon. That's when I curl up on the sofa, put the movie on and allow myself to be transported to the Owens home once more. Okay, it's a movie about witchcraft, but not in an evil sense ... and after all, it IS just a movie!

The story is about the Owens sisters, Sally and Gillian, who lived with their two aunts after the deaths of their parents. Based on Alice Hoffman's best-selling novel, the film follows the Owens sisters as they struggle to use their hereditary gift of practical magic to overcome the obstacles in discovering true love.

The women of the Owens family have lived in the same small New England town for more than 200 years. For all that time, everything that has gone wrong in the town has been blamed on them, because the Owens women are witches.

After the deaths of Sally and Gillian's parents, they are taken in by their aunts Frances and Jet (delightfully played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest), the current Owens Witches. The aunts are the kind we all should have had as children. Aunt Fran and Aunt Jet not only teach the children the history of their family, but also how to use their magical powers.

Because their mother died of a broken heart after her husband's death -- attributed to a family curse -- Sally vows never to fall in love. So, to keep herself safe, she casts a spell to summon her true love, but the qualities she specifies cannot exist. Gillian, on the other hand, cannot wait to fall in love and sets out to sow her wild oats.

Both girls are now grown, but while Sally (Sandra Bullock) yearns only for a normal life, Gillian (Nicole Kidman) leaves town and goes through a succession of boyfriends until she finds too-good-to-be-true Jimmy Angelov (Goran Visnjic). Sally at last marries, has two daughters and finds the normal life for which she searched -- until the family curse kicks in. Living once more with the aunts in their big old house in a small coastal town in Massachusetts, she vows to have nothing more to do with magic, and forbids her aunts to teach her daughters. Aunt Fran and Aunt Jet, of course, ignore Sally's order.

Meanwhile, Gillian is having trouble with Jimmy. When Sally comes to rescue her, they both end up captives, driving cross-country in Jimmy's car. To save them both, Sally doses Jimmy's tequila with belladonna -- but she misjudges the amount and he dies of an overdose. Rather than going to the police and claiming self-defense, the sisters decide to try and bring him back from the grave. And that's when the real trouble starts.

When police detective Gary Hallet (Aidan Quinn) comes snooping around after the boyfriend, Sally finds love for a second time. But obviously, she can't allow her feelings to go too far because she doesn't want to lose him to the old curse.

In the end, the towns-women throw off their old prejudices and join together to help the sisters.

The House

The Owens house is one of the main characters in the film. A ramblilng old Victorian home, you can imagine this family living here from the 1600's to the present day. Full of eccentric charm.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the house. The dark floors and trussed high ceiling that takes you back to a seventeenth-century English cottage. The roomy kitchen centers around a British aga-gas stove. At the other end of the kitchen is an eat-in, breakfast nook area. the predominant color is cream. Ivory walls and woodwork, cream paint on the table and chairs, and a slightly deeper shade on the trim surrounding the window. The darker stain of wood floors creates a nice contrast to the lightness of the rest of the room.

The Conservatory
The aunts would need a laboratory ... the conservatory would be where they'd mix and measure with handblown bottles and funnels. The greenhouse include a lot of glass - from bell jars to beakers, with roots and bulbs and tender herbs best grown indoors. There is also a wonderful potting bench and shelf. Shelves/cabinets are lined along the walls to store miscellaneous supplies, as well as to work upon.

The Garden

The landscaping of the garden was also very, very important. The aunts are dabbling herbalists, and the very nature of their heritage is to live off the earth. The way they cook, the way they medicate themselves, the way they take care of their family -- it's all through the garden.

Verbena Botanicals

Do you dream of finding the perfect place to get those beauty products you've always wanted? Or of being like Sally and learning to make products just like her?

Verbena Botanicals is Sally Owens' lovely botanical beauty store. The store is extraordinarily beautiful, clean and white in design. The simplicity of the surroundings serves to display the products that Sally sells, which are in themselves simple, natural, and botanical in nature.

The main town on Maria's Island (home to the Owens women) was portrayed by Coupeville, a small sea-front community on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound.

CAST

Sandra Bullock .... Sally Owens

Nicole Kidman .... Gillian Owens

Stockard Channing .... Frances Owens

Dianne Wiest .... Aunt Bridget 'Jet' Owens

Goran Visnjic .... Jimmy Angelov

Aidan Quinn .... Officer Gary Hallet

Evan Rachel Wood .... Kylie Owens

Alexandra Artrip .... Antonia Owens

Mark Feuerstein .... Michael

Caprice Benedetti .... Maria Owens

Annabella Price .... Lovelorn lady

Camilla Belle .... Young Sally Owens

Lora Anne Criswell .... Young Gillian Owens

Sandra Bullock ... as Sally

Nicole Kidman ... as Gillian

The Aunts:
Stockard Channing ... as Frances
Dianne Wiest ... as Jet

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All graphics on this page were created by my friend, Lana.

Midi = This Kiss (Thanks, Eric!)