“Love, Spells and All That” is a lesbian romance that is both magical and real
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The key moment in Ümit Ünal’s intimate romance Love, spells and all that is not with our two lovers. Eren visits her childhood home to find old memories and she asks a woman if the house is hers. The woman laughs. She said it’s – her husband, as a token of love, bought her this house. Eren looks a little puzzled before the woman laughs again. Of course, this is not his house. She’s just the right one.
On screen, we all have the right to great love stories, no matter who we are, no matter what our financial situation. But in real life, the markers these stories teach us to match romance aren’t that accessible. It’s not just about gifts and travel – even the thought of romance takes a time that can seem fleeting when you worry about the rent. Public declarations of love require security that is sometimes nonexistent, and the ever-doomed romance isn’t beautifully tragic offscreen – it’s just tragic.
Eren and Reyhan experienced such a tragedy. Teenagers, they fell in love: Eren, the daughter of an important politician, Reyhan, the daughter of one of his workers. A film about their teenage passion would have all the fire and all the heartache of our structures in three most classic acts. But what about after the book closes or the credits roll? What will the next twenty years look like?
To Eren and Reyhan, they looked quite different. While both are devastated, money heals some wounds. Eren went to study in Paris while Reyhan stayed and was harassed as a girl who made the daughter of an important man homosexual. Neither of them have found love again, but a casual meal for Eren is a feast for Reyhan and the food is not love but it is something.
When Eren returns to their beautiful Turkish island, declaring his ever-burning love for Reyhan, the things she talks about seem frivolous. Reyhan may not like the man she built a life with, but she built a life nonetheless. She struggled and she survived and she’s fine and fine it’s better than she has in the past. She can’t just erase two decades and run away to live a lifestyle of abundance and lesbianism.
Or can she?
The spell of the title is not metaphorical. Reyhan cast a love spell as a teenager and is convinced that its latent effects are what brings Eren back to her. Meanwhile, Eren believes in love but she doesn’t believe in magic. As they roam around the island, Eren joking with Reyhan as they work to reverse the spell, we can see what types of fantasies these two individuals can afford to believe. They connect like people who once meant a lot to each other and they talk to each other like people who have lived very different lives. Each moment changes our own perception – sometimes we believe Eren they are meant to be together, other times we believe Reyhan that whatever brings them together is a misguided love spell, be it a literal spell or a spell. of nostalgia.
This balance is helped by two phenomenal performances of Selen Uçer as Reyhan and Ece Dizdar as Eren. They fully embody their characters – and the stories of their characters. The twenty years are felt in every line and every look. There is also magic in the decor itself. This beautiful Turkish island – with all the weight it carries for these characters – is a place that is easy to fall in love with. Ünal is patient in his writing and directing. He trusts his actors and his setting and the result is a film that is both totally naturalistic and overflowing with fantasy.
Even though Reyhan doubts his ability to reinstate this great love affair, Ünal believes in his right to do so. If she leaves with Eren, she has to admit what she lost all these years. All this struggle – emotional and financial – was for naught if she simply gave up on the life she has now built for herself. Or maybe it was to keep her alive, to bring her to this very moment. The practicalities of life can encroach on our great novels, but everyone has a choice. Everyone has so much to choose from. And it is perhaps these choices that hold the most magical fate of all.
Love, spells and all that is available online until October 26.