Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 22
  2. Negative: 6 out of 22
Watch On
  1. Dunne is committed, thank good-ness, unapologetic for even the most fluttery sentiment or spookiest chill, enjoying the swellness of the very idea almost as much as any fanciful girl.
  2. Based on Alice Hoffman's fanciful novel and directed with go-for-broke prettiness by Griffin Dunne, Practical Magic is nothing but a guilty pleasure.
  3. Lively acting, eye-catching cinematography, and funny dialogue lift this fantasy a notch above the average until love-story cliches and horror-movie shocks bog it down.
  4. 70
    Though its startling shifts in tone sometimes seem unmotivated, this dark yet syrupy 1998 romance has an adolescent charm.
  5. Reviewed by: Laura Miller
    Like the rest of this new breed of witch story, it's about sisterhood instead of the supreme allure of housewifery, but like all too many witch movies (old and new), it's really just a self-congratulatory paean to banality and shrunken horizons.
  6. 63
    Unfortunately, like far too many films, this one gives up the ghost during the last fifteen minutes, saddling an otherwise-enjoyable film with a dumb ending.
  7. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    It tootles along being cute and fluffy like a twentysomethings' version of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, but to further its notions of sisterhood and the power of women, it also takes a spin through Thelma And Louise territory, then revisits The Exorcist to up the supernatural content. It's enough to make your head spin.
  8. It's just a little too ironic (to quote Okay Pop Singer Alanis Morrisette) that a movie with the word "magic" in its title should be such a perfect example of the difference between competence and inspiration.
  9. Reviewed by: Eve Zibart
    It's not that the movie isn't fun in spots; it's just a TV-ready mix of camp and curdle.
  10. 50
    The movie doesn't seem sure what tone to adopt, veering uncertainly from horror to laughs to romance.
  11. It's all swell, though after two hours of nonstop yin energy, one does begin to wish that someone like Bruce Willis might show up in a sweaty T-shirt, scratching himself.
  12. Reviewed by: Edvins Beitiks
    The cast and crew and screenwriters seem to have had some fun with it, and the audience, coming along for the ride, has some fun with it, too.
  13. Reviewed by: Jack Mathews
    It just doesn't add up to anything -- or break down -- to anything special. For good or bad, there's hardly a memorable scene in it.
  14. Reviewed by: Sarah Kerr
    Griffin Dunne's plodding adaptation of Alice Hoffman's novel can't decide whether it's a horror show, a cute comedy, or a soap opera.
  15. 40
    The title is, to say the least, an understatement. Witchcraft has rarely looked more prosaic and less sexy than it does in Griffin Dunne's Practical Magic.
  16. 40
    Its flat whimsy, VH1-ready musical montage sequences, and less-than-magic magic realism will probably not be enough to hold the attention of all but the most undiscriminating fans of witches and Stockard Channing.
  17. With the performers given zilch to perform, the result is a picture that's all chassis and no engine, or, in the parlance of the genre, a bunch of pointy hats in search of a transporting broomstick.
  18. 30
    As witch movies go -- even lighthearted, supposedly comic witch movies -- Practical Magic is conspicuously lacking in supernatural phenomena.
  19. 30
    You can see the outline of an interesting movie beneath the cutesy-pie characterizations and heavy-handed mockery of small-town small-mindedness, but any chance it might have had is short-circuited by director Griffin Dunne's overwhelming inability to establish a consistent tone for the admittedly off-kilter material.
  20. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Part comedy, part family drama, part romance, part special-effects mystery-adventure, and not entirely satisfying on any of these levels, this hodgepodge suffers from the conflicting sensibilities of its three credited scripters: Robin Swicord, who has done good work before, Akiva Goldsman, who has not, and Adam Brooks.
  21. A witch comedy so slapdash, plodding, and muddled it seems to have had a hex put on it.
  22. 20
    Director Griffin Dunne lacks a clear vision, torn between blithe spirits and brimstone, between madcap and macabre. But then what does it matter when there's so little magic on screen anyhow? That is unless you count making audiences disappear.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Lisa
    Oct 18, 2005
    I've purchased two copies of this movie, because my children and I have worn out the first one watching it (got a DVD the second time) I've purchased two copies of this movie, because my children and I have worn out the first one watching it (got a DVD the second time) It's a refreshing change to see the good guy get his woman in the end and the bad guy get what he deserves, and all in the same film. Very refreshing, romance with action too. We need more films like this. Full Review »