“Enchantments” does “Emma” with Wiccan lesbians in NYC

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Jane Austen’s novels have inspired many a film, several of which are great works in their own right. There have been some pretty noteworthy modern adaptations too, like Clueless and Bride and Prejudice. But I don’t think any of these could have prepared Jane to see her 1815 novel Emma turned into a movie about Emmie, a Wiccan lesbian living in the Big Apple and working in a magic shop. I give you Enchantments.

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Written, directed by and starring Kelsey O’Brien, Enchantments is Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets But I’m a Cheerleader on an indie budget–campy as a Hellmouth.

Emmie is as perky as they come and she meets her match in her new work buddy Smith, who has moved from Wisconsin to find a Meg Ryan kind of love. I kid you not. That woman has filled a whole generation of women with unrealistic expectations of love. But her hair looked so damn good while doing so, didn’t it?

Since she’s not looking for love herself right now, Emmie is happy to help. Hit the brakes–if someone would just buy this girl a clue she’d figure out she doesn’t have to look far at all. Hello, Dusk (played by Cat “Meow” Cabral)! You are most welcome on my screen. Your good looks aside, whenever you’re around the perkiness drops by at least 40 percent. Thank you.

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And here’s the thing about a lot of giddy people–they’re so used to being “nice” that they believe there isn’t a mean bone in their bodies. Newsflash, Emmie: you’re shallow. Proof? This movie could have wrapped up in 20 minutes if she had just let Smith and Martin fall into each other’s arms. But Martin wasn’t Edward or Mr. Big material enough to pass Emmie’s smell test, so no dice (I promise the Twilight and Sex and the City references make sense if you watch the movie). Instead, she thinks John’s the perfect guy for Smith. Problem is John has set his sights on Emmie. And he’s a pervy jerkface.

So of course hijinks ensue when Emmie tries to play Cupid. Aura readings, juice cleanses, visits to love gurus, etc. All the while, Dusk is a smitten kitten, but she’s not impressed with Emmie’s scheming, which at times borders on bullying. Watching her talk down to Smith because she shows up at Central Park wearing an “I Love Cats” T-shirt is not fun. But the trade off of watching the group reenact Sex and the City and Girls in the park is. Especially since Dusk’s so committed to the role that she shows off her girls.

I assume that little scene took place on the weekend or on their day off, but I can’t be sure–I don’t know how much work these women actually do. Between all the meditation breaks and the several times Emmie and Smith have asked Dusk to cover for them, I’m starting to wonder if Dusk’s the only one who puts in a full shift.

Back to the storyline I care most about–Emmie and Dusk. The attraction is almost instant and definitely mutual, but they don’t really do anything about it except flirt. Emmie because she’s a bit oblivious, and Dusk because she’s got a little something going on the side with a woman named Jane. Yup, Jane.

So, will Emmie get her head out of her ass long enough to get the girl? Will everyone else realize what Dusk’s known all along – that John’s a dick? Will the shop survive despite having a way too high employees to customers ratio? Well I know the answers, but you’ll have to watch to find out. Or cast a spell. Whichever.

I do have to tell you that the pop culture references don’t end with the ones I sprinkled all over this review, and yes, if you’re wondering, they do randomly break out into dance at least once. Better this than when they try to bring the serious, because Enchantments does not do drama well. It’s cheesy, but charming, and how can you not give a movie that celebrates female relationships a chance? Plus, Wiccan lesbians.

Enchantments is playing at the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival August 21-22. Visit Kelsey O’Brien’s Facebook page for updates, and check in with your local LGBT film festival to find out when the movie will be playing near you.