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A Reader of Fictions: Books Made Into Movies: Practical Magic

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Books Made Into Movies: Practical Magic

I first saw Practical Magic not too long after it came out, although that viewing was not especially memorable. While I liked the movie, it didn't make much of an impression on me and, overall, I thought it was kind of silly. Then one night during my high school years, I watched it at about 2 AM and I was in the precise mood to watch it. Ever since, it has been dear to me.


Just from looking at the cover,
you can tell that it's kind of a bad movie...


As a movie, Practical Magic is a bit silly, a bit romantic and a bit scary. It's a good one for the period right before Halloween, a nice blend of comedic absurdity and drama. Plus witches. As an adaptation of the novel, the writers clearly took some liberties. Many, many alterations were made to the story, although the overarching drama of what to do with the body of Gillian's ex remains mostly the same.


The casting was pretty good, except that Gillian was supposed to be blonde.
Oh well. She acts like one.

The rest of this post will essentially be detailing the main changes made in adapting the book to film format. There will be some spoilers for the book, so I would recommend reading the book first, if you care.
  • While it is true that Gillian and Sally were picked on as children, they became quite popular when they got to the age where kids start dating, because they're beautiful. This didn't happen so much in the movie.
  • As children, Sally and Gillian vow never to fall in love. In the movie, Sally even goes so far to do a spell to make herself fall in love only with an impossible man, one that can't exist, thus making it impossible for her to meet him. This does not happen in the book at all.

If I am the perfect man, why am I so ugly?
  • In the book, there are no midnight margaritas, which are the most awesome part of the film.

My friends and I actually do this. The question is:
why are we not doing this right now?!?

  • Sally's first husband was not magicked up for her by the aunts, as claimed in the movie.
  • Only the aunts really seem to do any actual magic. Most of the rest seems to be incidental. In the movie, however, they all do spells and actively have magical powers.

But at least in the movie, they can have one heck of a party with a corpse!
  • The movie takes place almost entirely in the environs of the Aunts' house. However, in the book, Sally moves out and lives in a different state after the death of her first husband.
  • In the movie, Sally's kids are young, both probably under 10; in the book, the youngest is 13.
  • The Jimmy plot line was all accurate, up to the point where his spirit inhabits Gillian's body.

They probably added this so they could make sweaty Nicole Kidman writhe on the floor.

While a lot of changes were made, I do think the movie stays fairly true to the spirit of the novel. I really think the main departure in meaning they made was in having the magic be so much more of an intentional thing, rather than magic realism.


Btws, this never happens. What is this?

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