Bewitched

Kinda Recommended. Another brilliant feminist tale written and directed by my favorite female director, Nora Ephron. LOVED Will Ferrell. Amazing gut wrenching laughs. He is brilliant as the self absorbed movie star on a down turn in his career. Some great lines about Hollywood insanity and selfishness, especially about acting. “He’s an actor. Deep down there is no deep down.” And “I want to be normal.” “Acting is better than normal. You get to pretend your normal.” But hey, some of my best friends are actors, so… Anyway, this is a brilliant modern day story about remaking the Bewitched series from television in the present day. And Nicole Kidman plays a real witch trying to be normal, who gets discovered to play the part of Samantha on the series. Loved the postmodern self-referential awareness of the whole thing. Samantha blurts out the moral of the story when she is talking about the TV show and says, “This show is about marriage.” The story is about Will Farell turning from a selfish self-centered man who thinks the world revolves around him and a woman is a support to his fame, into a man who sacrifices himself for the betterment of the woman and an egalitarian marriage. Another aspect of the theme was in the concept of striving to “exist between two worlds,” as Nicole says. This is about her being “born” a witch and trying to fit into a normal world, which reflects the films bigger canvas of women trying to fit into a world of the past (represented by the Bewitched conservative reality of the 60s) and the present, of feminism. Nicole’s witch is made to be naïve to the real world of relationships, though God only knows why. But this naivete then is the vehicle for exploring the struggle of women today. The conclusion of the film is “You can exist between two worlds.” Which is to say women can be somewhere in between the two extremes of barefoot and pregnant and trying to be like men. By the way, this is why the witchcraft side of it did not bother me. I saw it merely as a creative metaphor for exploring the place of women in society, not as an endorsement of witchcraft as a viable worldview. Although the very concept of Witchcraft being an inborn trait and neutral is of course, a lie. Diversity is a strong mythology of postmodern America, which is why you see a lot of movies like this being about being different and not fitting into a normal world, as if we have to eliminate the notion of “normal” It reflects the zeitgeist of our era of the idolatrous elevation of diversity over unity, and while I believe in diversity and acceptance of people who are different, not ALL diversity is legitimate. There must be boundaries or limitations of “normality” or you wind up with Chaos. The legitimate question that is raised by pomos is “Who defines normality?” Well, I think it’s pretty obvious that the Creator of the universe defines what is normal in HIS universe, not us. Anyway, one weakness of the story is the pitch for women to have a job to get self-esteem. Nicole says this several times in her own life and in the TV show, so it is an important point to the storyteller, but I found this unsatisfying and inconclusive. A fuller picture would be the discovery that jobs and careers are not what personal meaning or that psychobabble term “self-esteem” is all about. The fact is, achieving a career is ultimately empty without being rooted in something eternal, like people and God. While I am happy with my own career pursuits and achievements in life, none of it has any real lasting value except in light of my relationship with God and my wife, so those kind of stories never ring true to me. In my mind, it is a character flaw to consider self-esteem as our goal, or even career as fulfillment. That is something we need to be redeemed from, not something that redeems us. Anyway, I found it an interesting postmodern story about stories as the ending shows Will and Nicole falling in love, marrying and moving into a house that is the exact house of the show and we even see Abner and his wife across the street nosing in about it all. And so the reality and the myth blend into one, illustrating the point that storytelling is enough of a valid means of truth, it doesn’t have to be real. Reality, in the postmodern mind really is meaningless outside of story, and story is about story, not reality. So we use story to define our reality.

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