Share

Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

The Witches of Eastwick Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Satan vs. BFF feminism in grownup fantasy-comedy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's much sex talk, including frank discussions of what penis sizes/shapes women prefer. No sex is actually shown, despite female characters dressing in alluring clothes and obviously participating in a bedroom foursome with Daryl Van Horne. Some religious households may be offended by the "witchcraft" (present in the title more than anywhere else), likeability of the devil, or the insignificance of the neighborhood church. Horrific elements -- mostly played for laughs -- include gross vomiting and Daryl mutating into a monstrous being at the end, potentially scary for little ones, who shouldn't be watching in the first place thanks to frequent swearing (the f-word, above all). There are idealized scenes of romantic, recreational drinking. Teens assigned to read the John Updike novel for school should know that the movie is no substitute; it doesn't share the same themes, tone, or even time period.

  • Families can talk about the way the film portrays the devil as a rascally but friendly and fun-loving character, who claims he just wants love and a little respect from the "ladies." How does Daryl Van Horne compare to other pop culture and folklore images of Satan?
  • You might get older kids to read and discuss the book and how it differs wildly from the movie, and introduce them to the dense literary fiction of novelist John Updike (who, right before he died, issued a sequel, The Widows of Eastwick).
  • Research the history of "actual" witchcraft and witch-hunts (one suggested-reading book: Wayward Puritans, by Kai T. Erickson). Is Daryl historically correct when he says that anti-witch hysterias were schemes invented by the male-dominated medical profession in medieval times to put midwives out of business?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Ethical good-vs.-evil, temptation-vs.-virtue, God vs. Satan message is transformed into a slapstick-tinged battle of the sexes, and the implications are best not examined very deeply. Though Eastwick has an active church, it seems to have no presence or role when the devil comes. The only character who does recognize Daryl Van Horne's diabolical nature and tries to fight him is depicted unsympathetically, as a mentally ill, prudish hysteric who just makes her husband (and everyone else) miserable. Ultimately the story is about glammed-up single mothers fearlessly raising theirboys communally in an environment where men are neither needednor welcome.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: In the John Updike book the title characters really are a practicing witch coven, performing pagan rituals. Here they're not; they just steal a few of Satan's tricks to use against him. Each woman ends up easily charmed/seduced, and they don't argue with extramarital sex. The devil, for most of the movie, comes across more like a lecherous and likeable wizard with a possessive streak. Except for a speech accusing God of making frequent mistakes he doesn't seem to have an evil or unholy agenda, besides maintaining a harem of pretty women for companionship, sex, and recreation.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Supernatural "violence" includes a character hit briefly with a rapid-aging hoodoo, a whirlwind that assaults Daryl, and stabs of pain resulting from pins being stuck into a voodoo-type doll. Severe vomiting induced by magic. One character falls down a flight of steps; another gets a minor cut from a broken bass-violin string. An out-of-control car wrecks. Rather confusing hints that a murder-suicide has taken place.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Lots of talk about sex, penis size and shapes, being "horny," and the f-word in its literal meaning. No action shown, although it's obvious that intercourse has taken place -- possibly with three women at once -- and pregnancy results. Actresses wear sexy clothing. The only nudity comes from the obese tribal-Venus figurines that a character makes.

  • language false4

    Language: "F---k," "s--t," "bitch," "schlong," "dick."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Some household product labels (Ritz crackers, etc.). A spinoff TV series came along 20 years later. A book of the same title exists too, of course.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social and recreational drinking at home.

Advertisement