Say what you will about the film itself, but you cannot deny Anna Biller has crafted an elegant new cult classic. The Love Witch is an experience unlike anything you’ve seen before, kind of like the first you watch a surrealist film or something as wild and kooky as a Russ Meyer film. Biller depicts the tale of Elaine, a Wiccan on the quest for love, or at least what she believes love to be.
In her glorious command of costume-design, cinematography, dialogue, and casting, Biller takes us back to the 60’s in her homage to the pulpy and cheesy sexploitation films of decades past. In doing so, she also infuses her own cleverness into the project, underlying a film about a woman who’s seemingly brainwashed by the patriarchal with feminist undertones that ring true in modernity. Toning Dario Argento’s color-scheme to gentle pastels, Biller evokes an uneasy nature throughout the film as she contrasts the lightness of superficiality with the unnerving warped mindset Elaine has about love. She’s the most beautiful woman to ever walk this rural Californian landscape, certainly a woman who can steal a man’s heart simply by gazing at them and yet she’s always painstakingly resorting to love potions and adjusting herself to her lover’s every need just because that’s her idea of love. It’s not that she enjoys doing so, but it’s that her idea of a functional loving couple seems to come from six centuries ago where a woman had to adhere to her husband’s every need.
Biller is contrasting the fact that this eloquent, beautiful lady could do anything she desires but doesn’t as she feels bound to this dated idea of “love.” Then, when the men she allures with her majesty , plus a little help from her love potions actually falls in love with her she can’t stand them anymore. When you boil it down, Elaine is a huntress, slyly seducing men like a fox and then forcing them to crumble through negligence. As horrible as that sounds, Barney Stinson does the very same thing to over two-hundred women in HIMYM and is revered as a Casanova. The only reason we’re scared of Elaine in this film is because she has a vagina?, well that’s certainly silly. There it is, that’s Anna Biller speaking to us about how actually, its our entire society that’s seemingly brainwashed by the patriarchy.
Anna Biller is showing our own wickedness by reversing the roles of power and frightening us by attributing the power we give men to a woman. The Love Witch works like a metaphor about how the misogynist ideals that have been engrained in us by culture seem to be violently revered when they should be entirely abandoned. That’s why Biller goes back to the 60’s, makes the dialogue as simplistic as ever and casts such stereotypical faces to embody their respective character traits, she’s boiling down her argument so it can be understood by everyone: Love is about a mutual adoration, not service and glorification and more importantly, the easiest message millions still seem perplexed about, Men and Women must be viewed as EQUALS. The Love Witch is a smart metaphor about our times wrapped around neatly in the technicolor visuals of the 1960’s in a way that will perpetuate its message forever in a timeless manner.