Saturday, October 16, 2021
Home A & E Sundance Review: The Witch

Sundance Review: The Witch

Expelled by choice from a Puritan plantation for his hubristic insistence that his own preaching is the one right way to God, William and his family—wife Catherine, daughter Thomasin, son Caleb, twins Mercy and Jonas, and a suckling baby—go singing through the palisade’s gate and beyond the pale to establish their own farmstead in the New England wilderness, near to a stream and a dark and ancient wood. The wood, issuing ominous cracks, groans, and whooshes (and for our private pleasure a madly dissonant, crescendoing, Kubrickian chorus), may or may not be inhabited by a red-cloaked witch, a half-seen hag whose need for fresh baby’s blood initiates a season of bedevilment that drives the family to grief, near-starvation, and all manner of strife.

“We will conquer this wilderness,” William insists, meaning equally that, guided by their idiosyncratic, relentlessly self-punishing fundamentalism, they will conquer themselves and each other as their collective fortunes decline. Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), wide- and wet-eyed during The Witch‘s opening trial scene as she watches three male judges pass the family’s sentence, provides the first and lasting image of their collective fear of a lawgiving God. But this fear can’t hold off the realities of their human needs and desires, evidence, for them, of sin and witchery, though we understand them as the internal emotional conflicts essential to the human experience. Thomasin and Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) are old enough to understand the sensual attractions of other bodies, which become even more fraught because options for partners have dwindled to family. William (Ralph Ineson with an exquisitely sonorous, Old Testament voice) is prepared to dissemble for a time in order to get the family fed without upsetting his wife (Kate Dickie), and the twins (Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson), too young to know better and too free-spirited to honor distinctions between their fictions and reality, can, as an instinctual team, turn any accusation of wrongdoing into truth for their paranoid audience. Are they witches in league with their favorite playmate, the family’s he-goat, Black Philip? Or is Thomasin the source of their ills, the teenager, the young woman, a potential sexual rival of her mother’s or a perfect mate for Old Scratch? Though her parents may be convinced her behavior is alien and evil, we recognize her response to this suffocating environment as perfectly natural.

Which is to say that The Witch of this stunning film’s title may be more an idea, more a suspicion, more an accusation than the actual figure we glimpse through the trees. But we can never be certain as director Robert Eggers expertly produces, through rich image and provocative editing, a frighteningly closed vision of 17th century America, a beautifully raw and insecure place in the eyes and ears of these desperate and isolated European immigrants (the family’s English accents mark them as still-recent arrivals). The Witch is a period film whose authenticity is one of mind, then, rather than objective fact, and these minds’ paranoia, faith in a punishing God, and inherent will to survive at any cost produce a deeply authentic, spellbinding, and rewarding experience.

Does the first snow mean that it’s officially time to say goodbye to fall? Not if we have anything to say about it.

Stay warm out there SLC! 🌨

📸: @mjmorgan72 courtesy @visitutah

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There is something to be said about a bar that keeps things simple and classic. 🍻⁠

@thepines.slc is a new but familiar face in the former Tinwell space. Read more about The Pines at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo: Adam Finkle

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In 2016, @dlocke09 already had his dream job as the voice of the @utahjazz. But, hungry for a new challenge, he created the media empire Locked On during his summer vacation. Less than five years later, the network produces 170 daily podcasts which are listened to nine million times each month. 🏀⁠

Read more about David Locke at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo by Adam Finkle⁠

#utahjazz #utahsports #davidlocke #lockedon #lockedonjazz

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One year ago today: Utahns mourn at a vigil for Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by a police officer in March 2020, inspiring worldwide protests and calls for racial justice. ...

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Gayle Dowdle as Queen Elizabeth I of England ⁠

@dowdledesign is the queen of renaissance fairs and comic conventions. Dowdle began cosplaying six years ago and has been planning to recreate Queen Elizabeth I ever since. She spent as many as 700 hours constructing the ensemble. She entered her cosplay into the @fanxsaltlake 2019 cosplay contest, winning first prize. Since, she has continued to make upgrades to the royal cosplay she has created. “My dress will never be finished,” she says. 👑⁠

The wig is actually made of Dowdle’s own hair, which she cut off before beginning chemotherapy treatments last year. She says, “When I wear this wig, I don’t feel like Gayle with cancer, I just feel like Gayle again.” ⁠

See more portraits of Utah cosplayers at the link in our bio! ⁠

Photo by Adam Finkle⁠

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Missy Moody as Giselle from "Enchanted"⁠

@madamemoodycosplay has competed on the stage at comic conventions from Salt Lake City to New York in Giselle’s massive wedding gown from Disney’s "Enchanted." The self-taught seamstress has remade the dress five times over the course of four years, eventually wearing it to her very own nuptials. ⁠✨⁠

While Moody’s Giselle cosplay has been hailed as screen accurate, Moody advises, “Just have fun with cosplay. Don’t worry too much about accuracy. It’s OK to take some shortcuts.”⁠

See more portraits of Utah cosplayers at the link in our bio! ⁠

Photo by Adam Finkle⁠

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Ryan Bielik as Caleb Widogast from "Critical Role"⁠

“It was a demanding mistress,” @moody_kittens says of his Caleb cosplay, his take on a character from the Dungeons & Dragons live-streaming sensation turned multimedia empire "Critical Role." Bielik started cosplaying in 2013 and typically attends three conventions per year. After the pandemic, his Caleb cosplay represents a return to form: an obsessive attention to detail. Bielik plans to publicly debut his Caleb cosplay this year at @fanxsaltlake, where he will also enter the cosplay contest. 🪶

“I wanted something elegant to do—flashy, colorful. Something with a lot of grace in the costume,” says Bielik. ⁠

See more portraits of Utah cosplayers at the link in our bio! ⁠

Photo by Adam Finkle

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Kimber Gabryszak as Brienne of Tarth from "Game of Thrones"⁠

@kimber.and.connie.cosplay sets a high bar for herself. “I love to be as screen-accurate as possible,” she says. Gabryszak has always loved costuming, “I was cosplaying before I realized what cosplaying was.” But she did not attend her first comic convention until 2015. She says, “Brienne is the most ambitious character I have ever cosplayed.” Gabryszak had to learn leatherworking, for example, but by far the most difficult undertaking was constructing the chainmail. ⚔️ ⁠

"I like doing villains or people with a unique appearance who might not be as conventionally pretty,” she says. “Brienne is this tough, badass, giant, imposing woman.”⁠

See more portraits of Utah cosplayers at the link in our bio! ⁠

Photo by Adam Finkle

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We're teaming up with @gotbeautydotcom and @goodthingsutah to offer a $150 beauty package. Got Beauty is celebrating 30 years of business locally owned and operated by women. ❤️⁠

Here's how you can win: ⁠
✨ Like this post and tag three friends in the comments.⁠
✨ Follow @slmag, @gotbeautydotcom and @goodthingsutah.⁠
✨ Enter by 5 p.m. Friday for a chance to win!⁠

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Get ready to explore a city of secrets⚡👁️⁠

In a brand new issue of @slmag, we're uncovering the strange, obscure and unexplained stories and lore from Salt Lake City’s history, from a lost Mormon colony to a rampaging royal elephant to a sphinx with the face of Joseph Smith.⁠ Plus, we highlight outdoor gear trailblazers and continue our 2021 Travel Series in the Big Sky State.

Subscribers: look for this issue in your inbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands Sept. 1! 📪⁠

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If you’re wondering if it’s worth the trip to a certified Dark Sky Park to view the Perseids, the short answer is “yes.” The long answer is “heck yes.” 🌠⁠

It's not too late to see the yearly Perseids meteor shower light up the night sky. Learn more at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo: Gates of Lodore in Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal; Credit: @miahwatt courtesy @visitutah

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Trade the snowy mountains for sandy peaks. 🏂⁠

At Idaho's Bruneau Dunes State Park, enormous dunes are the perfect playgrounds for dreamy sunsets, night sky views and a sandboarding adventure.⁠

Check out more of our favorite Idaho destinations at the link in our bio!

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