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The Love Witch

R13: Nudity and sex scenes

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.

About the film

The Love Witch follows the story of Elaine, a woman who has been failed by the men she loves.

When her ex-husband dies under mysterious circumstances she becomes an initiated witch, using love spells to try and find a man who loves her the way she is capable of loving him. However, her love spells have a tendency to misfire. Finally she meets Detective Meadows, who tracks her down while investigating an ex-lover’s death. Is he the man the tarot cards have been predicting?

Poster for The Love Witch

Date registered: 20/07/2017

Classification criteria: Sex

The Love Witch is a highly erotic publication. Several of the occult scenes involve full frontal nudity and hints of rope bondage. One of the key locations is a local burlesque bar, where dancers doing elaborate stripteases (down to underpants and nipple pasties) are never far out of shot. Elaine herself does burlesque routines while seducing her lovers. The sex scenes themselves are not graphic, although they do involve some nudity. A character finds some explicit art in Elaine’s home depicting sex acts with her lovers. Overall, there is an erotic tone to the majority of the film, especially apparent in the way that the camera lingers on Elaine, who luxuriates in her own body, beauty, and youth.

Elaine lying in a pentagram

Classification criteria: Crime

While Elaine’s love spells are responsible for the deaths of three known men, her crimes are largely unintentional. However, towards the end of the film she attempts to murder another character. This is very brief and not graphic. Although there is some blood shown, it is highly stylized (like the rest of the production) and is not at all realistic.

There are also implied threats of sexual violence. At one point, a mob threatens to rape and burn Elaine for the death of one of her ex-lovers. However this threat is restricted to very brief shots of trousers belts being unbuckled, before Elaine is ushered away to safety.

Elaine driving a car

Classification criteria: Offensive language

There is some offensive language in this film, although it does not meet the criteria of being “highly offensive”. For example, in her internal monologue, Elaine decides that Wayne was a “pussy”. The impact of such language on the viewer is very low, and its use is minimal throughout the publication.

Elaine at a bar, looking into the camera

Decision summary

The Love Witch has a strong, highly-stylised camp aesthetic. Underneath this thick veneer it questions the internal, emotional lives of men and women. What do they want from each other? Is male emotion repressed for a reason? Is it too overwhelming to unleash? And if a woman embodies a fantasy, will she ever really be ‘real’ enough for functional love? It is aesthetically pleasing and has plenty to offer in terms of artistic merit. It also provides some sly commentary on gender politics.

The film has a distinctively erotic overtone, and there is some nudity and explicit art. However, this says more about Elaine’s point of view as a character than it does about sex itself. Like the snatches of violence in this film, this eroticism is also extremely stylised and has a deliberate sense of artifice. Nonetheless, children are likely to be disturbed by elements of the film. A teenage audience, however, should have the emotional and intellectual maturity to process The Love Witch. Even if its sexual and gender themes are more likely to be appreciated and understood by older audiences, there is little in its careful portrayal of dated eroticism that is likely to injure teens; as such the film is classified as R13.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R13 label
R13: Nudity and sex scenes