“Now is the time. This is the hour. Ours is the magic. Ours is the power.”
Running with a bit of a theme for a theme today, denizens. I realized last week that I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to remember all the strange and wonderful things from my childhood…but I’m forgetting all the strange and wonderful things from my older years. You know, that magnificent wasteland of adolescence. That wonderfully traumatizing time of your life in which you are discovering who you are and what that means, not just to you but to how you fit into the world around you and how you click with the people in your life.
Sometimes, it means realizing that you’re not really going to fit in and the people around you are more than likely going to find that you’re a bit…un-click-able. (Or is that un-clique-able?) Years after the fact, you’re going to look back and realize that all that was okay. Not being like everyone else around you can serve to strengthen you in many ways. Also? Not being like everyone else around you means that you’ll never have to conform to something you’re not, just to be accepted. What? Did you really think that all those high school cliques comprised people who all happened to be exactly the same? Nah…it takes a lot of work and lying to fit in, denizens. Much easier to just be yourself.
Of course, I can say that now, nearly 20 years after graduating high school. Back then, though, I struggled with a lot of stuff, including what was necessary for me to fit in. And then I chose black nail polish, black leather trench coats and knee-high boots, and massive metal hair. I guess I lived by that Alice in Wonderland line: “I often give myself very good advice, but very seldom follow it.”
So what does all this have to do with today’s Flashback Friday entry? Quite a bit, actually.
Remember The Craft? No? Allow me to refresh your memory. Young Sarah (Robin Tunney) finds herself in a new home and a new town and a new school, all things done by her father to try to make things better for his daughter, who has been having a bit of a rough time ever since her mother passed away. All the internal turmoil tends to set Sarah apart from others, so of course, she’s not really fitting in all that well at the Catholic school she’s now stuck attending. That is until she’s accepted by three other misfits—Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk), and Rochelle (Rachel True)—who also happen to practice witchcraft in their spare time.
Get it? The Craft?
What Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle don’t realize at first is that Sarah actually has the powers that they all pretend they have. Sarah is a natural witch, something she inherited from her mother. Of course, Nancy does not approve of this obvious impingement upon her assumed role as leader of these witchy malcontents. Hilarity, of course, ensues.
I think one of the things that I love most about this movie is that we see in Sarah someone who truly is different and, in the end, accepts her differences and sees them as her power rather than her weakness. The other three? All Bonnie wants more than anything is to be pretty enough for the boys to finally pay attention to her. And Rochelle just wants the high school bitch queen (played with hilarious bravado by Christine “I played Marcia Brady” Taylor) to leave her alone…oh, and also suffer a little bit. Nancy wants control, first in the form of money and then in the form of true dark magic. None of these three wants to accept who they are or what they have.
Sarah, however, comes to realize in the end that she doesn’t need anything. She doesn’t need to fit in. She doesn’t need these friends (she definitely doesn’t need a friend like Nancy). She doesn’t need to hurt herself or hurt others. She just needs to be herself.
Yes, the movie is a silly teen cult flick with an amazing soundtrack if you were a teen in the late 90s and dug alternative sounds from the likes of Heather Nova, Matthew Sweet, Elastica, Love Spit Love, Juliana Hatfield, Spacehog, Our Lady Peace, Jewel…seriously, this is another soundtrack that I know is guaranteed to lift my spirits a bit whenever I listen to it. Yes, it jump-started Neve Campbell’s movie career by bringing her to the attention of a certain well-known horror movie director who was gearing up to break the scary movie business wide open with a Scream.
Beyond all these things, though, is a movie to which I could greatly relate. I was different. I didn’t necessarily fit in with the people around me. But that was okay. At least I wasn’t going to end up like Nancy. Poor, delusional, do-not-piss-her-off Nancy. (Balk and Tunney ended up winning an MTV Movie Award for “Best Fight” because of their showdown in this movie…and you know what? Totally deserved. Totally.) I took from this movie the message that you will be okay, even if you spend your adolescence as the outcast. There’s freedom in not fitting in, and you will grow to understand and appreciate that. Also? You will find others who will appreciate your differences just as much as you appreciate theirs. And their acceptance without expectation will only make you that much stronger.
I guess this was a predecessor of the “It Gets Better” campaign in a lot of ways. Only with a witchy Goth twist. And Sidney Prescott.
While looking up some information for this post, I stumbled across this little bit of trivia: There’s a musical based on this movie. I don’t really know how I feel about this. I like that the message is still strong enough that people are helping it find new audiences. The songs aren’t really all that great though. Or maybe the YouTube clips just aren’t that great. I don’t know. But if it brings more fans to this movie? So blessed be it.