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Friday, January 22, 2021

Now showing: The Witches (M)

Luke McWilliams gives his review of the 2020 film based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, The Witches, starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer.

Via narration, we learn that witches are real! Flashing back to 1968 Alabama, the narrator explains that, as a young boy (Jahzir Kadeem), he moved in with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer) after the loss of his parents. One day, the boy meets a strange lady, who his grandmother grimly explains to him is a witch! The duo escape to a nearby hotel, which is unfortunately hosting a coven of witches, headed by the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway).

Author Roald Dahl’s children books are quite cruel and nasty, which, considering the contents of his autobiography Boy, should come as no surprise. In his stories, children largely suffer greatly from the cruelty of adults of all types, shapes and sizes.

The Witches follows suit with our antagonists bent on ridding the world of children in one fell swoop; turning them into mice en masse, leaving it up to the adults of the world to then do the main job for them.

While not as dark as the children’s literature classic, the movie is still shocking in many scenes that depict cruelty to children. Director Robert Zemeckis once again over-relies on computer graphics, which produces a lifeless result in places. Hathaway, however, steals the show as the main witch, relishing her gleefully wicked ways!

Verdict: Too much for young children. Fans of the novel, and 1990 movie, may also be left disappointed. 2 stars.

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