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Film / Witch Way Love

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Witch Way Love (original title Un Amour de Sorcière) is a 1997 French Urban Fantasy film with romance and comedy undertones directed by René Manzor (who worked on episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Highlander). It stars Vanessa Paradis, Gil Bellows, Jean Reno and Jeanne Moreau.

Morgane Edramareck (Paradis) descends from a long line of witches. Her baby son Arthur has an innate gift for witchcraft that starts manifesting. Morgane wants him to become a normal human being without supernatural powers, in order to fend off her evil uncle, the sorcerer Molok (Reno), who wants to kidnap Arthur and make him his successor, since he is the last male sorcerer and has no child of his own.

There is only one way to achieve Morgane's goal: she needs to perform an ancient ritual which requires the presence of a person who was born under a very specific constellation. Three people meet all the requirements, and two of them end up killed by Molok. The third one is a famous Bill Gates-like American inventor named Michael Firth (Bellows). Morgane takes Michael to her family's castle in France, then unexpectedly falls in love with him, which complicates her project.

Witch Way Love provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The '90s: It was filmed in that decade and the cars (outside Morgane's own) and technology look accordingly.
  • The Alleged Car: How Michael initially sees Morgane's Citroën DS, mostly due to its age (that car is from the late 1950s) and the fact that the windows are difficult to open.
  • Animorphism: Molok turns himself into a mouse to escape police in the climax.
  • The Assimilator: Molok mentions that he has assimilated the powers of all the witches and sorcerers that he killed.
  • Baby Be Mine: Molok wants Arthur for himself to be his heir. He appears to be seeking to do DNA alterations to Arthur to match his own DNA.
  • Big Good: Morgane's grandmother Eglantine Edramareck plays this role for the remaining good witches as a whole.
  • Black-and-White Morality: There are two sides to the witches' and sorcerers' world, either Good or Evil. A baby with magical powers will develop depending on who's his/her godfather.
  • Black Magic: Not all witches and sorcerers practice black magic. Molok, as the Big Bad, does (he's the Last of His Kind at that).
  • Brain/Computer Interface: Michael invents "mindware" devices that allow to control technology with one's thoughts. It serves him well in the climax.
  • Brainy Baby: Arthur is surprisingly smart for a baby, although it's because he's a witch's baby. He can talk to birds and understands what seat belts are for.
  • Burn the Witch!: The historical way to get rid of a witch or sorcerer was to burn her or him.
  • Camping a Crapper: Molok confronts Michael in the toilets of a palace in Venice during Carnival, using his powers to pin him against a wall, turn him upside down on said wall and tighten Morgane's scarf around his neck.
  • Candlelit Ritual: Morgane's ritual to seduce Michael in the forest happens in a circle of candles in the grass.
  • Cigar Chomper: Molok has a cigar in his mouth for a good chunk of the second half of the film.
  • Cigar-Fuse Lighting: Michael sets Molok on fire by throwing Molok's own cigar in the chemicals he's surrounded by.
  • City of Canals: Michael takes Morgane on a romantic trip to Venice at one point. He even dresses like a gondolier doing so.
  • Cool Car:
    • Morgane's car, a black Citroën DS. It's played with with Michael's remark upon seeing it when Morgane picks him up at the airport, as he was expecting more fanfare for his arrival. At least he acknowledges it's a collector car.
      Michael: "Bill Gates" my ass, this ain't a limousine...
      Morgane: It was one, in 1960.
    • Molok's red sports car.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: Molok can't leave his pool room as long as the magic powder force field is active, so he uses the pool game to magically take control of his car that Michael stole in order to hamper him. He makes the car accelerate dangerously this way, and one of the pool balls thrown by Molok against the ball representing Michael's car translates into a big truck Michael is about to crash into on the road.
  • The Diaper Change: On the way to the castle, Michael finds himself having the displeasure to change Arthur's diaper.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Morgane is a little too happy at the wheel.
  • Evil-Detecting Baby: Arthur cries when Molok (who shapeshifted as Morgane) tries to grab him in the climax. Michael, as a human, was fooled, but not him.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Molok practices Black Magic.
  • Evil Uncle: Molok is Morgane's uncle, he practices Black Magic and kills people with it, and he will go to great lengths to take her child from her to ensure his sorcerer lineage.
  • Fast-Food Nation: Joel mentions that there are 36 McDonald's restaurants in Paris to Michael before he goes to France.
  • Fed to the Beast: The film opens with Molok visiting Mr. Mark Thompson, the first human whose birth date's constellation matches Morgane's ritual. Thompson ends up killed by his own German shepherd dogs, who are mind-controlled by Molok.
  • Goo-Goo-Godlike: Arthur has some growing powers but almost no control over them, such as talking to birds, changing the color of things or freezing a person in time. Eventually, he summons seatbelts on himself when Michael rescues him and puts him in Molok's car, which lacks a baby seat.
  • Hero's Classic Car: Morgane has a Citroën DS.
  • Hot Witch: Morgane is attractive, and plays on this when seducing Michael.
  • I'm Melting!: Molok liquefies himself when burning in the climax. It's a magical way some witches and sorcerers developed to survive burnings.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Michael and Morgane go to Venice at one point... so of course it's during Carnival.
  • Jedi Mind Trick:
    • Morgane pulls one on the cops who bother her at the airport for parking her car where she shouldn't have.
    • Since Arthur has changed the color of all her banknotes, Morgane can't use them to pay for the stuff she wants to buy, so she manipulates the mind of the shop's owner to have him say it's free.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fire used to be the best way to get rid of witches and sorcerers (they used to burn faster than normal humans), but witches and sorcerers found a way around it. That is, liquefying themselves.
  • The Kindnapper: Morgane basically kidnaps Michael and bewitches him, though it's for a noble goal.
  • Last of His Kind: Molok is the last living fully trained male sorcerer (and Black Magic practitioner at that). It's the reason he kidnaps Arthur.
  • Little People Are Surreal: The witches' butler and cook (who's named Merlin) is a dwarf, played by Malcolm Dixon.
  • Loophole Abuse: Morgane made a Magically-Binding Contract with Molok. Witches can't break such deals, so Morgane's grandmother and aunts can't do anything to get Arthur back... but Michael is only a human, so he can get Arthur back without suffering consequences.
  • Love Before First Sight: Morgane tells Arthur the story of a little witch. This witch fell in love with the portrait of a young man, and found a magic spell that would get her pregnant by him without actually requiring his presence. Then the little witch was punished with a mindwipe, and the portrait was also erased, save the eyes of the man. Later, Morgane meets and falls in love with Michael. Suddenly, we guess: Arthur was never seen with a father around him, and there is a portrait with only the eyes visible in Morgane's room. Said eyes are identical to those of Michael.
  • Love Potion: Morgane's forest ritual makes Michael fall deeply in love with her.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: Morgane makes a deal with Molok in Venice, that is, promising to have a new child with him, in order to save both Arthur and Michael. The mirror in front of which they stay cracks, and Morgane falls into a coma when Molok comes to claim Arthur before the ritual to depower Arthur is accomplished.
  • Master of Illusion: Molok can shapeshift into someone else or project illusions of himself.
  • Mind Control: Witches and sorcerers can do that. Morgane uses it as a Jedi Mind Trick out of Mundane Utility, whereas Molok has no qualms using this to kill people (such as when he turns Mr. Thompson's dogs against him or manipulates Mr. Nguyen into shooting himself in the head).
  • Mind over Matter: To avoid paying a New York taxi driver for the ride he just got, Molok telekinetically bursts the taxi's tires.
  • Muggles: There isn't really a word that applies to normal humans, but they're basically this to witches and sorcerers.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Not being a sorcerer, Michael is not affected by the Magically-Binding Contract Morgane and Molok concluded, so it's up to him to save Arthur in the climax. He can't take on the very powerful Molok for too long, but his own gadgets — and some tips from Morgane's family of witches — do help him a lot.
  • Mundane Utility: Morgane uses magic to undress Michael, as well as a Jedi Mind Trick to get free supplies when she goes shopping at one point - because Arthur has ruined her banknotes.
  • Nerd Glasses: Michael is quite the nerd who seems to only live to think about his inventions, and he has glasses.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Michael is too much of a nerd to bother with a relationship with a woman, as he tells to Morgane when she brings him into her forest ritual, undresses him and kisses him. He's not so clueless with her when things start getting serious in that department, however.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Michael has one, before setting Molok on fire with his own cigar at the hospital.
    "One does not smoke here."
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Under the Mind Control of Molok, Mr. Nguyen (the second person to be born under a specific constellation that Morgane needs for her ritual) shoots himself in the head with a revolver in front of a photo of his children.
  • Romantic Rain: It rains when Morgane kisses Michael for the first time during her forest ritual.
  • Same Language Dub: Gil Bellows, Dabney Coleman and Malcolm Dixon didn't speak French and the film was filmed in French, so they were dubbed in French. Bellows was dubbed by by Éric Herson-Macarel (who would later become famous as the dubbing voice of Daniel Craig).
  • Sex Magic: The Love Potion ritual Morgane does in the forest as first part of what she needs to free Arthur from his powers has her having sex with Michael.
  • Shout-Out: To the Arthurian Legend with such names as Morgane, Arthur and Merlin.
  • Technopath: Michael has invented devices that allow to control technology with one's thoughts.
  • Telepathy: Witches and sorcerers can read minds, such as when Molok reads the mind of Michael's secretary in New York finds out.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks: Witches and sorcerers can teleport on short distances. A specific (and seemingly painful) ritual is needed to teleport at long distances, as demonstrated by Molok.
  • True Love's Kiss: Michael gives one to Morgane while she's in a coma at the end. It turns out it was just what was needed to revive her.
  • Villain Teleportation: Molok can teleport way faster than the witches of Eglantine's side of the family, including Eglantine herself.
  • Voodoo Doll: Eglantine make such a doll to hamper Molok (with a scarf that he touched) while Michael escapes his lair with Arthur in the climax, planting a needle in his butt and telekinetically making him feel the pain. It works for a minute, but Molok manages to telekinetically destroy the needle in turn, then burn the doll.
  • Weather Manipulation: Morgane can summon rain.
  • Weird Currency: The "francs" banknotes that Morgane uses and Arthur recolors in pink are actually dollar banknotes.
  • When the Planets Align: The ritual to suppress Arthur's powers must happen under an alignment of planets.