To put it in simple terms, Half Magic is a very feminist comedy about sex.
Written and directed by Heather Graham, the film stars Graham, Angela Kinsey, Stephanie Beatriz, Thomas Lennon, Luke Arnold, Jason Lewis, Alex Beh, Michael Aronov, Molly Shannon, Rhea Perlman, and Chris D’Elia.
Honey (Graham) is an aspiring writer and she’s at a complete standstill in both her personal and provate lives. Tormented since she was ten years old by the words preached by Father Gary (Johnny Knoxville), Honey’s self-esteem isn’t exactly at the right place. Honey wants to find that nice guy just to have sex with but she’ll have to battle her internal issues in doing so. Meanwhile, she has to deal with her current boss and former boyfriend, Peter Brock (D’Elia). The movie star and Hollywood producer just happens to be a stand in for every single thing that’s wrong in the industry right now. Peter is so misogynistic that he dismisses Honey’s feminist-oriented screenplay as “stupid shit” and that there’s no market for women’s films. If that’s not a representation of everything that has been wrong with Hollywood, then I don’t know what is.
There’s another scene later on at the production offices that depict the type of man that Peter is. John (Aronov), comes to Honey’s defense after she suggests that women should be more empowered in a scene rather than cut down with violence. Linda (Rhea Perlman), a financier, ends up hiring Honey and John to write the next draft of the screenplay. One can only hope that scenes such as this one don’t get played out all that much in real life.
How much of a misogynist is Peter? He doesn’t think Honey can be successful because she has “big boobs.” Honey immediately rebuts his argument by saying that “a person can be smart and have big boobs.” You go girl!
Honey is only able to really start living when she allows herself to find herself. She starts this by signing up for a female empowerment class taught by Mistress Valesca (Shannon). It’s at the class where Honey becomes fast friends with Eva (Kinsey) and Candy (Beatriz). With a developing bond between the trio, Half Magic has it’s footing. Fashion designer Eva is just coming off of a divorce from ex-husband Darren (Lennon) and doesn’t really know who she is anymore. Candy refers to herself as a “hope-ologist” and a witch. She works at a candle shop and performs spells invoking “magic” and wish fulfillment. Candy wants is a commitment from her boyfriend, Daniel (Beh), and control in their relationship but she has to get over her own issues on compatibility.
It’s crazy that Graham’s film comes at a time when the very thing depicted is under attack from all asides. Call it foresight or whatever, it’s great to see these things being called out for what they are. Whether there were underlying reasons that Graham chose to write these scenes into her script shouldn’t matter because it’s another reminder that these things shouldn’t happen (the harassment, not the film). Even though it may be focusing more so on the sexual side of things, Half Magic is the type of female-empowered comedy that needs to be made.
Unfortunately for me, one of my biggest gripes about the women’s class taught by (Shannon) is that while it is for women, it’s not for all women. It’s for that reason alone in that I wouldn’t recommend this film for transgender women–I had to make the decision about whether or not I should continue watching the film. If you are transgender, please proceed with extreme caution because it was very much a dysphoric trigger.
At its core, the female-empowered comedy teaches the women that they need to love themselves before they can love someone else. It’s a film that teaches women about the power of friendship and that women can do anything they want to in life.
Momentum Pictures releases Half Magic in select theaters and VOD platforms on February 23, 2018.