Half Magic

Heather Graham’s very funny directorial debut looks at misogyny both inside and outside the film industry.

There are people who consider #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement to be an aberration or a passing fad; if you know any middle-aged men, chances are at least one of them considers it “women’s liberation” gone mad. But they would do well to consider that current films addressing those themes were shot well before the current reckoning began, and it is luck — for want of a better word — that films like Tehran Taboo, In Between, and Heather Graham’s far lighter directorial debut are coming out right now.

Half Magic — which finished shooting in September 2016 — is doubly significant because it’s a comedy set partially in the American film industry, in which Honey is an aspiring screenwriter stuck working for movie star Peter Brock (Chris D’Elia), a walking embodiment of toxic masculinity. When Honey and her friends Eva (Angela Kinsey) and Candy (Stephanie Beatriz) begin making wishes on quasi-magical candles, they find their lives changing for both the better and the worse. Director Graham also targets the hypocrisy of male authority figures — particularly religious leaders who teach children to fear sex — who have the privilege of declaring their word to be absolute law until it’s no longer personally convenient for them. Half Magic is very funny, and fully woke. 

Rated R. 
Opens Friday at the Presidio.

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