Love, Spells And All That ***
Starring: Selen Uçer, Ece Dizdar, Aysenil Samlioglu
Director: Ümit Ünal
After spending twenty years living across Europe, Eren (Dizdar) has returned to the Turkish island of Büyükada where she grew up. There, she tracks down Reyhan (Uçer), her teenage love, who is less than amenable to the idea of a reunion. When Eren left two decades before, an old islander had put a love spell on her on Reyhan’s request, saying that her love would return on a Thursday. And now, on a Thursday, she is presented with its supposed fulfilment and is subsequently unsure whether Eren’s return is due to real feelings or magical forces at work.
Despite its whimsical title, this is actually a serious film, focusing on the romance between the pair. As they try to get the spell reversed together, they track down figures from their past, revisiting their teenagehood decades later. Taking place over the course of twenty-four hours, it has the “real-time” aspirations of a Before Sunrise or a Weekend, but it doesn’t quite capture their same levels of urgency. Instead, this is quite a slow film, even if its plotpoints are interesting enough.
Dizdar makes for a suitably adorable lead, while the withdrawn Uçer’s grouchy realism succeeds in counterpoint to her. Their chemistry is palpable and as Reyhan softens you can’t help but root for the couple to accept that there are no supernatural forces at play here and just pull themselves together. Literally.
Cute and quirky, this is fanciful fun that you’ll doubtless find charming, even if it does need to get its skates on.
UK Release: 25th October 2021 on VOD and DVD, released by TLA Releasing