Film review: The Witches of Eastwick (1987), directed by George Miller
What do you do when you’re three single women in a small town where nothing exciting ever happens? You wish something interesting would happen. Maybe this interesting thing could be a handsome man who knows exactly how you tick. If you and your two friends turn out to have magic powers when you come together, you really ought to be careful what you wish for …
Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer) are three rather different women. Alexandra is a sculptor and a free spirit, uptight Jane is a strict school teacher, and Sukie was deserted by her husband, left with a brood of kids. As it happens, they get drunk one night and cast a spell to attract the Perfect Man to the village of Eastwick.
Then they go to sleep and think nothing more of it. Until Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) arrives, and turns out to be exactly what the three women were hoping for. He rents the big mansion on the outskirts of town, and it’s not long until he has the women enthralled. The pious Felicia Alden (Veronica Cartwright) insists he’s a bad influence, and her husband (Richard Jenkins) has to try and keep her increasingly crazed outbursts under wraps. Surely there’s nothing actually sinister about Van Horne?
Or is there?
How do you turn three perfectly normal women into wanton hussies? Well, if you’re the Devil incarnate, or something of that ilk, it’s not too difficult. The role of Daryl Van Horne fits Jack Nicholson to a tee. Can you think of anyone better to play this part? I sure can’t. They were made for each other! If your idea of Jack Nicholson is that he’s a charismatic slimeball, this film will reinforce that notion. Oh yeah, very much so. But at the same time, isn’t being able to play that kind of character part of his appeal?
The three friends are fine actresses and they seem to enjoy themselves, even if Nicholson steals the show with his devilish antics. Well, he and Veronica Cartwright, who gets more and more wound up and no one is willing to listen to her, even though she technically is the only one who sees Van Horne for what he really is.
I do enjoy this film. It’s fairly harmless, but mad fun at the same time. Not in a hilarious, guffawing way, but in a smiling and enjoying it sort of way. The drastic personality changes of Cher, Sarandon and Pfeiffer is amusing. Sarandon’s character is so uptight and Pfeiffer’s is so meek that their transformations are striking, to say the least. As is their revenge.
Oh well, The Witches of Eastwick is wicked fun. One to bring out around Halloween, because a Dark and Stormy Night will surely put you in the right mood.
4 out of 5 cellos.