[[caption-width-right:350:Just a normal evening at the Owens house.]]
->"Did you or your sister kill James Angelov?"
->"Yeah, a couple of times."
--> -Sally Owens and Gary Hallett.
Sally and Gilly Owens are two sisters with an open secret: they come from a long line of witches, and their family harbors a terrible HereditaryCurse: any man who falls in love with them is doomed to die. They lost their father to the curse, and shortly after, their mother to a broken heart. As a result, they go off to live with their two eccentric aunts, Frances and Bridget. As they grow older, Sally decides she never wants to fall in love, and casts a spell to protect herself from its charms by decreeing she'll fall in love only with a man she believes can never exist. Gillian, on the other hand, is a free spirit who falls into lust easily and often, usually with men who are no good for her.
As they both grow older, Sally meets and marries a young man named Michael, and they have two daughters together. For the first time, she feels a normal life is attainable, and becomes part of the town community that had once shunned her for being a witch. Gillian drifts across the country, eventually meeting and falling for a violent creep named Jimmy Angelov. Both sisters hit a rough patch when Michael is killed -- another victim of the curse -- and Sally falls into a deep depression. Meanwhile, Jimmy isn't quite the angel he's pretended to be.
When Jimmy attacks and kidnaps the Owens sisters, they fight back and he ends up dead. In order to cover their tracks, the women resort to BlackMagic to revive him, only he comes back an even worse monster in death than he was in life. Forced to kill him again, this time they bury him in their backyard and unleash a new curse on their family name. Their troubles are compounded when a detective, Gary Hallet, shows up looking for Jimmy.
The story is probably best remembered as a 1998 film, but was originally based on a book of the same name by Alice Hoffman. It should be noted that most of the tropes here apply to the movie. The book [[GhostlyGoals is]] [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane markedly]] [[AHouseDivided different]]. The movie stars NicoleKidman and SandraBullock as the sisters (Gillian and Sally, respectively), with a supporting cast featuring Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, and Aidan Quinn. The director was Griffin Dunne, previously known for ''Addicted To Love'' (1997). The film was not particularly successful at the box office. It earned an estimated 46,683,377 dollars at the United States market, where it was only the 45th most successful film of its year. It performed relatively well in the United Kingdom but not elsewhere.
!!The movie provides examples of:
* ArtisticLicenseLaw: Without a search warrant, any evidence Gary collected would be deemed inadmissible in a court of law and thus could not be used against them. Not to mention that by repeatedly stealing Sally's mail, he is in fact committing a felony himself.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Aunt Jet uses these exact words to warn a woman against wishing for a man "to love [her] so much he can't stand it".
* BlackMagic: Bringing Jimmy Angelov back from the dead falls into this category.
** Also, [[spoiler: Sally and Gillian slice their palms and clasp hands to cure Gillian's DemonicPossession. Their joined hands and shared blood cures Gillian and [[CurseEscapeClause breaks the family curse.]]]]
* [[BloodBrothers Blood Sisters]]: Gilly and Sally, an important plot point
* BreakTheCutie: [[spoiler: Gillian, after she suffers through the possession]]
* BrickJoke: Kylie points at Sara's son who has been teasing her and says she hopes he gets chicken pox. Later, during Gary's interviews, he's briefly shown to have broken out with red marks all over his face.
* BrokenBird: Sally, after losing her husband
* BugBuzz: The sound of the death beetle portended Michael's death.
* BurnTheWitch: Averted when the hanging of the main characters' ancestor fails.
* CameBackWrong: Jimmy Angelov. Although he was shown to be something of a monster ''before'' his death as well.
* CannotTellALie: Sally finds herself unable to lie to Gary.
* CartwrightCurse: Gender-flipped with the Owens women.
* ChekhovsGun: The Phone Tree.
** The cuts on both Gillian and Sally's palms.
* [[CaliforniaDoubling Coupeville Doubling]]: Although the film supposedly takes place in a small New England town, most scenes were filmed in [[http://www.cometocoupeville.com/ Coupeville]] and Friday Harbor, WA.
* CrazyCatLady: Both of the aunts in the book, where they're said to have half a dozen raggedy cats. In the movie, only one black cat is shown.
* CurseEscapeClause: Searching for this is one of the sub-plots.
* CuteWitch: Sally and Gilly as little girls. You just want to cuddle them both. Sally's daughters are adorable, too.
* DangerTakesABackseat: Gillian just [[TooDumbToLive can't leave]] without her lucky necklace...
* DemonicPossession: Happens to [[spoiler: Gilly]]
* DomesticAbuse: Jimmy was extremely possessive of Gillian and eventually punched her during an argument. Later, he tries to brand her with his skull ring.
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Gillian is usually barefoot.
* EasilyForgiven: Despite finding out that Gilly and Sally accidentally murdered someone, no-one seems to bothered by this.
** Averted in the book, [[spoiler: Jimmy died of alcohol poisoning.]]
* EyeOfNewt: The spells cast by the Owens women call for some interesting ingredients, which the girls have to substitute for when they can't find the real deal (see the the whipped cream in the photo at the page top).
** When one of the Aunts sees Gilly's bruise, she says "a little mugwort will clear that right up." Ironically, Witch Hazel, which is actually used for healing bruises, scrapes and wounds, would have been more appropriate.
* EyeScream: Subverted. Part of the spell to bring Jimmy back to life involves sticking two needles into his eyes [[spoiler: but he wakes up just before they get to it.]]
* FlyingBroomstick: Subverted; the witches have broomsticks, but for the more practical use of sweeping up the ashes of a demonic spirit.
* FoolishSiblingResponsibleSibling: Gillian and Sally, respectively.
* GenerationXerox: The Owens family seems to produce one pair of sisters per generation, one redhead and one brunette. They even hang a lampshade on this with identically framed shots of Gilly and Sally walking up to the aunts' house and, years later, Sally's daughters doing the same.
** The aunts look like they might also have fit this trope before their hair grayed.
* GossipyHens: The ladies in town relentlessly gossip and spread rumors about the Owens women.
* GranolaGirl: Sally has a few of these tendencies, with her all-natural, oatmeal based shampoos, soaps, and body lotions.
** Even moreso in the books, where she becomes a vegetarian after witnessing the bird-killing love spell, and great detail is used in [[FoodPorn describing her cooking]].
* HasTwoMommies: Gilly and Sally are raised by their two aunts.
* HereditaryCurse: All the witches in the family are cursed in that any man they fall in love with is doomed to die an untimely death.
* HotWitch: Sally, in spite of herself. Gillian, quite deliberately. (The Aunts were apparently [[IWasQuiteALooker quite the lookers]] in their days, as well.)
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Sally.
* LookingForLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces: Gilly.
* LovePotion: The aunts sell them when needed.
** A love spell is also used to encourage Sally to fall in love with Michael (though the aunts never knew it would [[GoneHorriblyRight go as far as it did]]).
** And of course, Sally's love spell at the beginning of the film sets into motion the breaking of their family's curse
* MagicMisfire: Bringing Jimmy Angelov back made him meaner and nastier than ever.
* MindRape: Jimmy attempts this with Gilly and the entire family in the book. His angry spirit affects their entire neighborhood, actually.
* NeverHeardThatOneBefore: "Witch, witch, you're a bitch!"
--> '''Sally''': You'd think after three hundred years they'd come up with a better rhyme!
* NudeNatureDance: It just isn't the Solstice if at least a pair or two of Owen women aren't dancing naked under the full moon, apparently. ([[NoodleIncident Never shown on screen]], this remains a great running joke all the same.)
* PlotHole: Sally uses a plane to get to Gilly after she calls requesting help; after [[spoiler:they kill Jimmy]], they somehow manage to ''drive'' from Arizona to the East Coast in a single night. Can be HandWaved as AWizardDidIt, but still...
* PortentOfDoom: The chirping of the death watch beetle foretells the death of a loved one.
* TooDumbToLive: Given that Jimmy was already shown to be a borderline sociopath, you have to question why bringing him back to life as something "dark and unnatural" was ever going to be a good idea. Sally does question this, but only for about two minutes.
** Averted with the Aunts, who promptly leave the next morning with the following note;
--> '''Aunts''': [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Clean up your own mess.]]
* ThePowerOfLove: [[spoiler: Ultimately the CurseEscapeClause.]]
* SarcasticConfession: See the page quote up top.
* TheSheriff: Gary Hallet.
* SiblingYinYang: Solid, practical Sally and wild, flighty Gillian. Even their hair colors telegraph this, with Sally's straight black hair and Gillian's fiery locks.
* SpellBook: The Aunts have a very old book of spells that appears to have been passed down through the generations.
* StrongFamilyResemblance: Sally's eldest daughter looks almost exactly like an aged-down version of Gilly.
* SuddenlySober: After Gillian smashes the bottle of tequila, everyone instantly loses their giggly drunkenness.
** It could be argued that their intense intoxication was somewhat caused by [[spoiler: Jimmy's spirit affecting everyone in the house]] as the aunts are heard singing the same song He was just before [[spoiler: Gillian and Sally killed him the first time]], and Sally noticed that it was Jimmy's bottle of booze.
* TakeAMomentToCatchYourDeath: When [[spoiler:Michael]] gets hit by the [[spoiler:truck]] instead of the [[spoiler:bicyclists]].
* TelecomTree: Sally is part of a parent-teacher organization and placement at the top of the phone tree is a serious status symbol.
* UtilityMagic: Sally uses magic to do [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin practical things]] like stir her coffee and light candles.
** Aunt Jet makes toast just by glancing at the toaster.
* WidowWitch: Sally.
* WitchSpecies: Witchcraft follows bloodlines.
* WouldHitAGirl: Jimmy Angelov gives Gillian a black eye.