The Good Witch


Rating 2½

Directed by Craig Pryce

Written by Rod Spence

Starring Catherine Bell (Cassandra Nightingale), Chris Potter (Sheriff Jake Russell), Catherine Disher (Martha Tinsdale), Peter MacNeill (George O’Hanrahan), Matthew Knight (Brandon Russell), Hannah Endicott-Douglas (Lori Russell), Noah Cappe (Deputy Derek Sanders), Allan Royal (Bill Cobb), Paul Miller (Mayor Tom Tinsdale), Paula Boudreau (Nancy Perkins), Murray Oliver (Bill Perkins) and Jesse Bostick (Kyle)

Cassandra Nightingale causes much talk in the small town of Middleton when she moves into the Gray House, an old abandoned house that is said to be haunted. She makes an immediate impression on the townsfolk who encounter her, especially the local Sheriff and his two young children, but she is soon accused of being a witch


‘The Good Witch’ was made for the Hallmark Channel and on its first broadcast in January 2008 was the second highest audience rated original movie ever shown on the channel up to that point. The plot is tissue-thin and it does borrow heavily from earlier films. The local store Cassandra opens, for example, is called Bell, Book and Candle, the name of the store owned by Kim Novak’s character in the 1958 film of the same name.

Small town America is invariably presented in films, particularly made-for-television films, as an ideal and that is the case here. Each and every obstacle encountered is resolved in the most superficial of ways. Brandon Russell, the young son of the Sheriff, deals with a bully on the advice of Cassandra by befriending him and then introducing him to his father, who is able with a minimum of effort to solve the problem of the boy’s troublesome home life and violent single parent. It’s saccharine and overly sentimental, but it’s also sweet-natured, easy to watch and rather heart warming if approached with an absence of cynicism.

Life is not like this, even if the prejudice of Martha Tinsdale, who instigates the witch-hunt against Cassandra, does have a genuine touch of nastiness about it. In the end, though, I rather enjoyed it.

A successful sequel, ‘The Good Witch’s Garden’, followed in February 2009 and apparently a third film, ‘The Good Witch’s Wedding’, is coming.

Review posted 14 February 2010


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