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Still shot from the movie: Practical Magic.

Practical Magic

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Overall: D-
Violence: C
Sexual Content: B-
Language: B-
Drugs/Alcohol: --
Theater Release:
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian Owens (Nicole Kidman) are sister witches. Their family lives with a centuries old curse that decrees any man will face certain death if he becomes romantically attached to an Owens woman. After their father dies and their mother passes away from a "broken heart," the girls are raised by their two single eccentric aunts -- also known for their witching behavior.

The curse causes the sisters to have very different attitudes about their lives. Choosing marriage, Sally has two children before her husband dies, while Gillian enjoys many men, but eventually gets locked in an abusive situation with Jimmy (Goran Visnjic). Finally recognizing that his often drunk and emotionally disturbed personality is too high a price for the sexual pleasure she originally sought in the relationship, Gillian calls on Sally for help. In an attempt to restrain Jimmy, the sisters rope themselves into a murder and resort to witchcraft to try and cover their tracks. But their lies and wrong doings only lead them to be haunted by Jimmy's spirit and hunted by a detective.

Obviously, those concerned about the portrayal of witchcraft will stay away from this title, but all parents should consider the risk of their children falling prey to these cult-like activities when they are shown in this context. These women are looking for power and acceptance, and witchcraft is portrayed as the solution to their desperate situation. Other messages and scenes that young viewers may consider mimicking include cutting hands for blood sharing in a bonding ritual, and the use of cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol (including while driving).

All this, and the writers still come up with a happy ending. The witches become accepted in the community, and even jump from their roof in witch costumes for a Halloween performance. Through the use of their "magic," the aunts manipulate the police detective to fall in love with Sally and conveniently clear the women of any charges.

Fortunately, parents can wave their magic remote controls, and nobody will get away with murder in your home

Practical Magic is rated PG-13:

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman
Studio: 1998 Warner Bros.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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