Warner Bros. | Release Date: June 12, 1987
Generally favorable reviews based on 32 Ratings
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SpangleSep 21, 2017
The Witches of Eastwick is a natural follow-up to the Mad Max series for director George Miller. I mean, what else was a man who directed a trilogy of gritty Australian action movies expected to make? This New England set suburban fantasyThe Witches of Eastwick is a natural follow-up to the Mad Max series for director George Miller. I mean, what else was a man who directed a trilogy of gritty Australian action movies expected to make? This New England set suburban fantasy horror comedy focuses on three women. Divorced, deserted, or widowed, from their husbands, the trio of Jane (Susan Sarandon), Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Alexandra (Cher) are lonely and occupy their time by hanging out with one another and their kids. In other words, they have no lives left whatsoever beyond discussing how they hate men and desperately want to meet the perfect guy. In steps the mysterious Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson). Bewitchingly devilish, Daryl manages to rope in these three women and successfully seduces all of them, turning them into his little sex slaves. A comedy for the whole family, The Witches of Eastwick is a battle of the sexes for the ages.

Throughout this film, men are really criticized. Even Daryl gets in on the action, lamenting how men kill women in marriage by squeezing out every bit of life in them, arguing that men keep women oppressed due to their own self-consciousness over penis size and power, and believing that women blossom once they ditch the men in their life. For the trio of witches/women, they whole-heartedly agree and see men as slick, repulsive, arrogant, and selfish. Yet, they cannot help themselves. Once they hear Daryl say he wants them, even if they would normally say no and do not find him attractive, they give in to his every whim. On the other hand, Daryl goes from praising women for their ability to give birth and produce milk to ripping them apart as nothing but a mistake and curse from God. After giving them so much, he is baffled as to how they could now reject him. How could they want more? He has already given them the world and powers previously inconceivable! Why are these women so unsatisfied?

However, the truth lies in the relationship between men and women. Unless you are gay, the fact that men and women do not work together at times yet desperately need one another at all times will personally impact your life. Even then, you may hear friends in relationships lament about how awful their mate is, yet then express love for them to the next day. This "cannot live with them, cannot live without them" element is very much the status quo at times. Going from loving to being annoyed, The Witches of Eastwick oddly enough perfectly exemplifies this turbulent relationship, though shown between witches and the devil himself. If nothing else, it shows that nobody is immune from the strife that arises between two vastly different people coming to live with one another and build a life together as a single entity. This on-again and off-again relationship is one also shown by Clyde (Richard Jenkins) and wife Felicia (Veronica Cartwright) once she breaks her leg and becomes a tool for the devil to punish her incessant warnings about Daryl's home. Annoyed with her, Clyde is nonetheless beholden to her - as he rips his own reporter, Sukie, in a story about Daryl after Felicia begged him to do so - and annoyed with her - as he works the fire and gets some nefarious ideas and actions regarding his now grating wife. Yet, these extremes of sacrificing everything to sometimes wanting to ring their neck (not literally) is what defines the relationship between men and women. In The Witches of Eastwick, Miller showcases just how challenging it can be, especially when it is three women versus one man.

Furthermore, the film often exemplifies the ideas of Laura Mulvey. To Mulvey, women in film have two roles. One, that of child-rearer. Second, as castrator due to their incessant penis envy. For the former, the film shows them all get pregnant or be mothers with Daryl lauding women's ability to get pregnant and carry a child to term. For the latter, the women frequently talk about the size of men's penises and what they would prefer only to later give Daryl's voodoo doll a very noticeable member. Often **** these women - especially as they seduce Daryl later in the film - The Witches of Eastwick is a film that is all about penises. Men have them. Women do not. Men are protective and self-conscious. Women want them. Why? Penises represent power. Men must shield theirs and push women down to ensure that they can keep the power. Women want the power and will come straight for the jugular to get this power. By the time the women take down Daryl, we see his shriveled body and later see him as just a head on a television set where the women have the remote to shut him off. Losing his penis, and thus his power, Daryl is now beholden to the whim of these women as they have, effectively, castrated him while nonetheless giving birth to his children. Exemplifying this role of castrator and child-rearer, these women are ones who want the power and will stop at nothing to take it all from Daryl.
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