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THE WITCH 2016 Post-Release - Page 5

post #201 of 248

I can't even with you right now, nooj!

 

ARGH!!!!

post #202 of 248
Chris Finch, Bloody Good Puritan.
By Mike Crossey

I met with thineself at dusk. One hour thereafter an invitation found me partaking in ales in Chasers. Upon my arrival, I found a maiden, having known nineteen summers, with a shape that would tempt thy Lord. After much wine and malt beer my fortune found the maiden and I alone in carriage, fortune smiled once more as the betrothed of my companion joined us. Hark, for I speak truly when I tell thee, both placed their lips upon mine manhood. We lay together, sleeping only two hours.

Upon this very morn my companion gave me coin for parchment. He remarked upon my fatigue and the thought struck me "Yeah, and you look like you've had a wank and a Pot Noodle."

Edited by Mike's Pants - 8/23/16 at 3:12am
post #203 of 248
squeal, piggith, squeal!!!
post #204 of 248

Nothin like a good pot noodle after a wank.  To this I can attest.

post #205 of 248

I may have ruined this thread...

post #206 of 248


#LiveDeliciously
post #207 of 248

So finally watched this. I'm glad I waited for home video; I have a pretty big screen, and I think this worked better at home. 

 

Reading through this thread, I first found myself nodding with Jacknife's take on it: outright amazing performances, lovely production design and quality of everything onscreen - but the film isn't really great. Good, yes, but I think Jacknife nailed it when he said there's a pervasive, even growing, sense of dread but on real tension, no ticking timebomb. 

 

However, as I kept reading the thread, I found myself more aligned with wasp's take: this is not a terribly deep film, and I believe someone upthread said even the director wasn't purposefully going for some of the messages we're divining from the story. The subtitle of the film is "A New England Folk Tale," and I believe that's primarily what we have: a 21st century cinematic take on a 17th century-style folk story, one told to frighten and cow the listeners. Given that the film opens with a witch stealing and pulping a human infant (and subsequently smearing herself with the bloody paste she makes of it), I'm not going to be too onboard with any interpretation that leans towards "positive female empowerment," especially since (as wasp pointed out) all the (female) witches are beholden to a male Satan.

 

I'll confess as I watched the film, I almost felt like I was reading a new story by a much ballyhooed writer of literate fiction: I could tell the craft on display was par excellence, but I felt too stupid to really be getting what the author was trying to tell me. However, in this case, I've landed more on the side of "Eggers didnt' have a deep theme or message he was purposefully communicating," hence both my and the film's own "confusion."

 

I did really adore the close adherence to period speech. My own religious background and writing nerdery made both the language and beliefs used easy to follow, but I'm not sure Joe/Jane Sixpack are up on Elizabethan English talking about Reformation religious ideas.

 

I liked it, no mistake. But I don't know that we're ready to hail this a classic. 

 

In terms of recent horror films much loved by CHUD, I'll say this:

 

The Witch > It Follows > The Babadook

post #208 of 248
michael is never impressed with anything

right jacob?
post #209 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

michael is never impressed with anything

right jacob?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

...outright amazing performances, lovely production design and quality of everything onscreen....there's a pervasive, even growing, sense of dread

 

I did really adore the close adherence to period speech. My own religious background and writing nerdery made both the language and beliefs used easy to follow, but I'm not sure Joe/Jane Sixpack are up on Elizabethan English talking about Reformation religious ideas.

 

I liked it, no mistake.

 

It's not that I wasn't impressed. I was! The attention to detail and deft combination of a tight film (barely 90 minutes) that also breathed are quite impressive!

 

But I don't think it was an INSTANT CLASSIC.

post #210 of 248
quiet!
post #211 of 248

This thread serves as the only reminder that I went to see this thing. 

 

Damn you, CHUD.

 

"CALEB!"

 

"TOM-IS-IN!"

post #212 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

quiet!

 

you FILTH

post #213 of 248

MM chooses to not live deliciously. 

post #214 of 248

I'd rather make a deal with Kroger than with Lucifer to get my butter.

post #215 of 248

Kroger: "Live cheaply and within walking distance."

post #216 of 248
I loved this movie. It just resonates with me. I think my appreciation for it comes from what I read Eggers original vision was; to make a movie about the type of evil witch that New Englanders used to believe occupied the woods and caused all of their misfortunes.

I can see what he was going for, especially the feeling of isolation. I used to live in a city but after I met my wife we made the decision to buy her family's old rural property. I can tell you this, if you live in the city you have no idea what dark actually means. At night everything moves. Everything makes a sound. And you can't help but have your imagination run wild because like I said before. It. Is. Dark.

People 300 years ago had to fill that void with what their understanding of reality was at the time.

So ultimately I think that is what Eggers was going for. He was trying to tell a tale set in 1630 where the absolute worst fears these people had became manifested.
post #217 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

I'd rather make a deal with Kroger than with Lucifer to get my butter.

I'm more of a Meijer man, myself. 

post #218 of 248

Kroger for produce and most foods. Meijer for health and beauty products. 

post #219 of 248

ahhhhh yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh my Ohio brutha from another mutha.

post #220 of 248
The American Midwest is more horrifying than this movie.
post #221 of 248
I saw this one in theaters and walked out very conflicted. I wasn't sure that I actually liked it or enjoyed it, but holy fuck it stuck with me. I'm rewatching it now to help solidify my thoughts so we'll see....
post #222 of 248
Really dug this one. Whether the director intended or not, I think there's much to chew on. It certainly stick with me.

And MichaelM... Psssh the Babadook is the goods.
post #223 of 248
I enjoyed the absolute hell out of this. Does dread equal tension? No, it doesn't. But for me, the film didn't need some ticking time bomb, I was completely and utterly engrossed watching that family self distruct. I don't see the ending as some kind of triumphant fuck you to the patriarchy at all, she traded one extreme for the other, but at that moment she finally felt liberated.
post #224 of 248

I've pinned down some fundamental reasons why this movie doesn't work...

 

Not only didn't I care about the family, but they were annoying.

 

If you're going to make a movie about a family torn apart, give me a reason to give a shit.  Why are they worth preserving?  Seeing them banished isn't enough.  After a while, I was beginning to realize why nobody wants them around.  They aren't very intelligent, and it's not that a movie can't show dumb people, but the last thing you want in a horror movie is to base it around stupid people because you're just begging for them to be killed (at least I was).  The Village, for its flaws, at least got this basic horror trope right.  

 

I usually reference one of the better family-in-peril horror movies, Poltergeist because it gets so much right about the characters.  Each one of them is distinct and the film does an excellent job of getting the audience on their side from the get go.  After that, the events that test them are that much more effective.  They are not just a family-in-peril... they are actual human beings worth caring about with inner lives and a future.

 

I feel this movie having such an overriding theme of religious faith should've put more effort into showing us why this family's faith is so important to them.  Not just because "people were insanely religious back then"... it's not enough.  That doesn't make me emotionally invested in what's going on...in fact, it's a mark against the movie right off the bat because religious fundamentalists are easy to hate.  I was angry at the characters for being stupid bible thumpers who couldn't figure out what I already knew (which I'll get to in a second).  But mostly I was bored, because stuff just happened, and then it ended.

 

They also don't seem to actually like each other (saying "I love you" isn't the same as showing it).  It's a problem, since the family dynamic is the only thing holding the movie together, and it's built on a shaky foundation.  Again, if the movie had invested a little time in the beginning giving the family some quirks, some nuance, some distinct familial bonding moments (kids laughing and playing doesn't count, it's wallpaper), then them turning on each other would've been so much more effective.  They're just a generic New England family.  Generic people are boring.

 

The film has creepy music and stunning cinematography, but it isn't enough.  And I feel like those elements are the ones carrying most of the praise, while characterization and narrative seem to take a back seat.  It's one of the problems I had with The Babadook and It Follows, and most modern horror.  Movies that seem to skirt on mood and the filmmakers don't seem capable of actually building solid characterization.  They aren't characters as much as they are psychological profiles.  Travis Bickle works in this manner because he's not actually a protagonist, he's a villain.  And Scorsese knows the difference.

 

I also agree with whoever said they shouldn't have shown the witch so early.  The peek-a-boo scene with the baby was probably the best moment in the film (besides the ending, but I'll get to that).  What's so great about it is it implies a supernatural force that the family is powerless to stop, which is exactly what could've been seen as tearing them apart later... 

 

If we hadn't already seen the witch.

 

It was a huge missed opportunity for me.  Imagine the drama and tension that could've been mined from them going in on each other, and the audience not knowing if they were crazy, or if there was an actual witch fucking with them, or what.  Having the audience know more than the characters for a few scenes is fine, and can actually be effective.  Having the audience know more than the characters for 90% of the running time is a HUGE narrative problem.  Because you're bored, sitting there waiting for them to find out what you've known forever.  It made all the crying and shrieking that much more of an endurance test for me... because it was another element that made them dumb.  I knew more than they did, therefore I was smarter.  And purely because of a narrative problem, not because I'm actually smarter.

 

What ends up happening is we realize the black goat was what was pulling strings, but by then it didn't make a difference, because we already knew the witch existed.  We knew she was out there.  So there was no tension mined from the black goat being there, because that puzzle piece isn't revealed until the end.  Another missed opportunity.  

 

One of the things I did like was the ending.  It was one of the few things that worked.  This girl's mind is so broken by what happened, she was easily led into the darkness.  She only asked what was being offered and he told her things that were much better than being a lone banished child who'd hacked her own mother to death and was the cause of her family being killed.  Of course she said yes.  But again, it probably would've been more effective if we knew why their faith was so important to them.  As such, the girl never seemed to be doing anything but reciting prayers because he parents told her to, so when she turns, it's very creepy and effective, but could've been another step toward the film being a classic if the film has taken a little time to invest her in the very religion she betrays at the end. 

 

It's a minor problem at that point, because the filmmaker has finally taken control of the narrative.  Something he didn't seem capable of before, since there was so much wrong with what I was watching.  The realization that this was a demonic cult looking for new recruits, and they had their eye set on the girl from the begininng... then her walking toward the campfire, and her expression going from confused and frightened to elated and euphoric as she rises into the air with the other witches was a powerful moment the movie deserves kudos for.  But again, could've been classic if the issues I referenced earlier were dealt with to give that moment the narrative backbone it needed.  By then it's too late.  And the film, for me at least, feels like a series of missed opportunities, with some stunning cinematography and hypnotic music. 

 

6/10

post #225 of 248

Ambler's back! 

 

Great analysis. I respect where you're coming from, but I don't think the individual family members are dumb so much as they're repressing their basic human natures. It's not about their faith, it's what their faith is trying to repress.

 

The mother is jealous of Thomasin. The brother is lustful for Thomasin. The father is proud but also feels inadequate (he has to sell his wife's silver cup for hunting gear, he takes his aggression out on chopping wood). And Thomasin is blossoming into womanhood and feeling the constraints of societal constructs. 

 

The movie is really about communication, or lack thereof. And it's about control. William tells Caleb that he sold Katherine's silver cup, but doesn't tell Katherine. William and Katherine whisper about sending Thomasin away to work for a family behind Thomasin's back. The younger children spread lies. And of course there's Black Phillip making promises in secret. 

 

Everyone is trying to force some order into a chaotic world, and they all fail. Ultimately Thomasin gives herself up to the chaos and relents any control. 

 

So it's not so much about religion or faith as how those things are used to overcompensate. 

post #226 of 248

What Bartleby wrote.

 

And I don't agree at all that we see no evidence of actual love between family members. It's there. It's fucked up and infected by religious fundamentalism, but it's there.

 

As far as showing the witch: Ambler, I get what you're saying, but that reads like you're saying it should be a different kind of film. The film wants us, the audience, to know the witch is real, the witch is evil, and the witch has access to supernatural powers. Whether the film uses that knowledge effectively or not is certainly up for debate, but I'm not with you on wanting to change the entire tenor of the film.

 

Weirdly, I think The Witch is a pulp horror tale masquerading as an art house film. From both the text of the film itself and interviews with the director, we know that the film's main purpose was a cinematic telling of a 1600's folk tale. The lensing and the pace of the film make us think it's deeper and more "important" than it really is, to use imprecise language. The film is essentially something from Weird Tales, not the Citizen Kane of witch allegories.

post #227 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post
 

Ambler's back! 

 

Great analysis. I respect where you're coming from, but I don't think the individual family members are dumb so much as they're repressing their basic human natures. It's not about their faith, it's what their faith is trying to repress.

 

The mother is jealous of Thomasin. The brother is lustful for Thomasin. The father is proud but also feels inadequate (he has to sell his wife's silver cup for hunting gear, he takes his aggression out on chopping wood). And Thomasin is blossoming into womanhood and feeling the constraints of societal constructs. 

 

The movie is really about communication, or lack thereof. And it's about control. William tells Caleb that he sold Katherine's silver cup, but doesn't tell Katherine. William and Katherine whisper about sending Thomasin away to work for a family behind Thomasin's back. The younger children spread lies. And of course there's Black Phillip making promises in secret. 

 

Everyone is trying to force some order into a chaotic world, and they all fail. Ultimately Thomasin gives herself up to the chaos and relents any control. 

 

So it's not so much about religion or faith as how those things are used to overcompensate. 

 

For me, genre films have to work as genre films before subtext actually means anything or enhances the narrative.  The film doesn't really work for me as a genre film for the reasons I went over.

 

All your points are valid readings, but they're not really supported by a dramatic or tension filled film.  They're ideas kind of floating in the ether.  Stuff to appreciate on an intellectual level despite the film, not because of it.  

 

For instance, I find lack of communication interesting... for characters who are used to communicating.  That's a character arch.  Not every movie needs characters that change, but it's obvious the director was going for traditional storytelling ideas.  I just don't think he pulled it off.

 

As I said, there are things to like about the film, so it's not a total bust.  It just feels like a script that could've used a couple more drafts to really bring it home, as all the ingredients for a classic were there.  But this being Eggers first movie, there's no way I'm holding that against him.  It's a worthy debut.

post #228 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

What Bartleby wrote.

 

And I don't agree at all that we see no evidence of actual love between family members. It's there. It's fucked up and infected by religious fundamentalism, but it's there.

 

As far as showing the witch: Ambler, I get what you're saying, but that reads like you're saying it should be a different kind of film. The film wants us, the audience, to know the witch is real, the witch is evil, and the witch has access to supernatural powers. Whether the film uses that knowledge effectively or not is certainly up for debate, but I'm not with you on wanting to change the entire tenor of the film.

 

Weirdly, I think The Witch is a pulp horror tale masquerading as an art house film. From both the text of the film itself and interviews with the director, we know that the film's main purpose was a cinematic telling of a 1600's folk tale. The lensing and the pace of the film make us think it's deeper and more "important" than it really is, to use imprecise language. The film is essentially something from Weird Tales, not the Citizen Kane of witch allegories.

 

The part in bold is why I'm so down on the film, because it definitely has more pulpy aspirations, but can't seem to effectively mine the kind of tension that makes these movies really work.  

 

Also, I do think it should've been a different kind of a film... one that works.  All smart ass-ness aside, I don't think holding the witch back would've made it a very different movie, just one that made me lean closer to the screen caught up in suspense- an active participant in the discoveries of the film... rather than one where I'm leaned back, passively observing, already knowing what's going on and waiting for the characters to figure it out.

post #229 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

 

The part in bold is why I'm so down on the film, because it definitely has more pulpy aspirations, but can't seem to effectively mine the kind of tension that makes these movies really work.  

 

Also, I do think it should've been a different kind of a film... one that works.  All smart ass-ness aside, I don't think holding the witch back would've made it a very different movie, just one that made me lean closer to the screen caught up in suspense- an active participant in the discoveries of the film... rather than one where I'm leaned back, passively observing, already knowing what's going on and waiting for the characters to figure it out.

 

You and I want the same things out of our horror.  However, I'm kind of torn as to how to apply that to The Witch.  While I did find many of the same aspects as you frustrating, the most striking and memorable parts of the movie were those with the Witch and Black Phillip.  I don't know how to reconcile that divide without making it a different movie entirely.

post #230 of 248

This is the second best movie of the year. 

post #231 of 248

I agree with a lot of your basic points, Ambler. I guess I give the movie a little more credit for being a well-done genre film with an interesting setting that seems to have been fairly authentic in how it is presented. I think the mood it creates is effective. I've already posted plenty about my issue with it thematically, or at least how it has been received and interpreted by many, but I do think the movie is distinct and achieves some of the things it wants to do. That's enough to make it one of 2016's best movies, or at least from what I've seen (but I have yet to see a lot of the ones that are supposed to be top ten material).

post #232 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

 

You and I want the same things out of our horror.  

 

Yes.  That was a great post, and totally expresses what I felt was a major problem with The Witch, and alot of modern horror/suspense.

 

Hitchock's bomb under the table analogy about audience knowledge vs. character knowledge is everything (but only for short sequences, not an entire movie).  It's the very foundation of suspense in movies, and horror movies without suspense are... well, dread porn and torture porn and I don't care for those subgenres, except for some of Cronenberg's stuff.  Those suspense rules exist for a reason.  They work.  There's just no getting around the fact that being ahead of the characters for more than a few scenes leads to boredom, at least for me.  The human mind is more powerful than anything you can show on screen... and if you engage that mind by holding back and allowing us to wonder what the hell could be going on, it creates a level of fear no slimy animatronic puppet can match.  And allowing us to discover the film's mysteries along with the characters creates a much more satisfying experience.  I'm all for reinventing the wheel, but I've yet to see a horror movie do that satisfactorily by ignoring these basic rules.  For all of Psycho's, Halloween's, Night of the Living Dead's and The Blair Witch's innovations, they still followed those rules to a T.

post #233 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
There's just no getting around the fact that being ahead of the characters for more than a few scenes leads to boredom, at least for me.  The human mind is more powerful than anything you can show on screen... and if you engage that mind by holding back and allowing us to wonder what the hell could be going on, it creates a level of fear no slimy animatronic puppet can match.

 

I don't know if it's just fear, even.  It creates a level of engagement that can't be matched.  And engagement is the key to fear, yes, but also pathos, shock, joy, and any other emotion you can hope to produce.

post #234 of 248
Lauren Wilford's piece on THE WITCH pushes beyond the "feminist" readings of the film. It's a great read.
post #235 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

Lauren Wilford's piece on THE WITCH pushes beyond the "feminist" readings of the film. It's a great read.



VERY good read. Especially this part:

 

Quote:
One clue to what’s going on here is the subtitle of the film: “A New England Folk Tale.” Perhaps The Witch is not a parable or a metaphor or a manifesto, but rather Eggers’ vision of a story that actual Puritans might have told one another. One can imagine them whispering the tale in the wee hours of the night, spreading rumors round the fire about the awful thing that happened to a family in a neighboring town. This reading of the film simplifies much, interpretively—we don’t have to bother as much about what everything means or stands for if we accept the premise that this is just the story we get. It’s “an inherited nightmare,” as Eggers puts it.

 

Eggers has explicitly confirmed this is the intended goal of the film: visually depicting a folk tale Puritans might've told each other and do it in a way that takes their worldview as real. I don't think The Witch easily (or really at all) lends itself to a directly feminist interpretation.

post #236 of 248

All this movie needed was one good Witcher to walk through the area.

post #237 of 248

All he would have done is fuck the witch.

post #238 of 248

Fuck her up maybe!

 

But also...  Yeah he tends to do that.

post #239 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post

 

Eggers has explicitly confirmed this is the intended goal of the film: visually depicting a folk tale Puritans might've told each other and do it in a way that takes their worldview as real. I don't think The Witch easily (or really at all) lends itself to a directly feminist interpretation.

 

I think one of the reasons The Witch works so well is that it feels like one of the rare pieces of filmed American folk horror - taking elements of the British tradition in things like The Wicker Man, but using a distinctly American lens to view them through. That said, it's undeniable that one of the tenants of Puritan society - and, indeed, American life - was and has been a fear of female sexuality, or rather, bodily autonomy, and I can how those parallels rang true in 2015 and 2016. It's not just a major theme of horror, but those ideas are having a comeback in the sort of "complicated narrator" novels found in crime fiction and other genre fiction. I mentioned this in the "by the moments" thread, but I think the ending of this movie is only going to grow in esteem over time as a cultural document.

post #240 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post
That said, it's undeniable that one of the tenants of Puritan society - and, indeed, American life - was and has been a fear of female sexuality, or rather, bodily autonomy, and I can how those parallels rang true in 2015 and 2016. 

 

Is anyone denying this? I don't think the movie portrays the family's beliefs sympathetically, though it portrays the family itself fairly and with compassion. Any feminist reading of the film hits a major roadblock in at least two ways: first, the film unequivocally portrays the witch(es) as not just murderers of babies but corpse mutilators and in league with a very real (in-film) infernal being; second, Thomasin's "liberation" is shown to be orchestrated by a male Satanic figure, and she ends not actually free but gleefully empowered by pledging fealty to the devil. 

 

It's a very well made film but as the article and posts here have pointed out, it rightly resists simple or sweeping interpretations. Indeed, it might be a mistake trying to fit any such interpretation on the film beyond what's inarguably in the text itself: this is how Puritans saw the world, and this is what might've scared the fuck out of them. Anything beyond that might be argued to be best framed as questions we ask each and ourselves, rather than the "correct" reading or thematic interpretation of the film.

post #241 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

 

Is anyone denying this? I don't think the movie portrays the family's beliefs sympathetically, though it portrays the family itself fairly and with compassion. Any feminist reading of the film hits a major roadblock in at least two ways: first, the film unequivocally portrays the witch(es) as not just murderers of babies but corpse mutilators and in league with a very real (in-film) infernal being; second, Thomasin's "liberation" is shown to be orchestrated by a male Satanic figure, and she ends not actually free but gleefully empowered by pledging fealty to the devil. 

 

It's a very well made film but as the article and posts here have pointed out, it rightly resists simple or sweeping interpretations. Indeed, it might be a mistake trying to fit any such interpretation on the film beyond what's inarguably in the text itself: this is how Puritans saw the world, and this is what might've scared the fuck out of them. Anything beyond that might be argued to be best framed as questions we ask each and ourselves, rather than the "correct" reading or thematic interpretation of the film.

 

Yeah, I wasn't trying to be like "you're wrong," just pointing out how I can see how it resonated, and how it's part of larger things happening in culture right now. Again, crime fiction is full of women like Thomasin. I read this and the other comment on the article in the film criticism thread back to back, so my response may have blurred together. 

post #242 of 248

Understood! And I wasn't trying to be an argumentative/smug dick. Hopefully the tone of my post above wasn't confrontational.

post #243 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

Understood! And I wasn't trying to be an argumentative/smug dick. Hopefully the tone of my post above wasn't confrontational.

 

No, you weren't! I just wanted to clarify.

post #244 of 248
FIGHT

FIGHT now
post #245 of 248
Michael and Boone would like to live deliciously.
post #246 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

FIGHT

FIGHT now

 

post #247 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

Lauren Wilford's piece on THE WITCH pushes beyond the "feminist" readings of the film. It's a great read.

That’s a fascinating piece.  I was particularly pleased that the author touches on the ways in which the family - particularly Ralph Ineson’s William - is treated with empathy, as well as the reading of the ending, which has always struck me as far more grim and complex than the simple “female empowerment” reading of it that many subscribe to.

 

Then there’s this section at the end, which jumped right off the page at me:

“… If cultural critics ever catch wise to Eggers’ disinterest in allegory and mythologizing, it could make him an easy target for accusations of political apathy, social negligence, reckless unwokeness.”

 

To which I would say to those making such accusations, “It is not mandatory for a filmmaker to avoid any of those things.”  Let the artist make the art he wants to make in the way he wants to make it.  The idea that a filmmaker must convey a message that is “socially responsible,” or whatever (in the eyes of those who make it their mission to determine such things for us) seems profoundly stupid to me, and antithetical to the notion of pure expression.  I can not like a movie’s thematic message, but as long as it’s coming from an honest place and the craft is compelling and engaging, I can respect that.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

Is anyone denying this? I don't think the movie portrays the family's beliefs sympathetically, though it portrays the family itself fairly and with compassion. Any feminist reading of the film hits a major roadblock in at least two ways: first, the film unequivocally portrays the witch(es) as not just murderers of babies but corpse mutilators and in league with a very real (in-film) infernal being; second, Thomasin's "liberation" is shown to be orchestrated by a male Satanic figure, and she ends not actually free but gleefully empowered by pledging fealty to the devil. 

 

It's a very well made film but as the article and posts here have pointed out, it rightly resists simple or sweeping interpretations. Indeed, it might be a mistake trying to fit any such interpretation on the film beyond what's inarguably in the text itself: this is how Puritans saw the world, and this is what might've scared the fuck out of them. Anything beyond that might be argued to be best framed as questions we ask each and ourselves, rather than the "correct" reading or thematic interpretation of the film.

You're absolutely dead-on about the inherent flaws of the feminist reading.  In order to view the film that way, we have to basically ignore the ways in which witchcraft is explicitly portrayed as an unequivocally evil thing in the film (there's no arguing that abducting and murdering babies isn't evil, right?), and we must also ignore that Thomasin isn't "liberated," but has traded one theology (if you will) for another.

 

I think one of the movie's strongest attributes is that it does resist those sweeping interpretations.  It gives us a lot to chew on, and it seems to me that's more the point of the movie.  From Eggers' perspective, it's okay if we don't all arrive at a single interpretation; in fact, it's probably better that we don't, because there'd be nothing left to discuss.

post #248 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

Lauren Wilford's piece on THE WITCH pushes beyond the "feminist" readings of the film. It's a great read.

 

Great article. I agree whole heartedly with it. 

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