Man and Witch (2023)

With tongue firmly in cheek, Man & Witch, a heart-warming homage to the fantasy films of the 1980s, succeeds in being everything you want a sweet comedy to be.  It is charming, funny, and unexpectedly subverts fantasy expectations thanks to a cast that is both game and willing to fulfill the comic adventure that it is as a hapless goat herder hires a mysterious witch to break the curse put on him by an evil wizard.  The problem is, the witch falls for him in the process!

"Bring your family: you won’t be disappointed as an evil curse is broken for all eternity"

With gorgeous cinematography and a on-point script by Greg Steinbruner, Man & Witch is an unexpected surprise as Goat Herder (Steinbruner) absolutely nails his performance as the lonely man who lives with his mother and sleeps with his animals.  He has three tasks to do before the witch (played by one of Hollywood's most enigmatic child stars, Tami Stronac from The Neverending Story) agrees to help him, but she’s got a whole lot of tricks up her sleeves.

This whimsical family-friendly fantasy also features a voice cast of Sean Astin as Dog, Jennifer Saunders as Goose, and Eddie Izzard as Donkey, in which the animals are practical creations from the award-winning Jim Henson Workshop.  They follow Goat Herder on his epic journey, too, adding comic relief and asides when appropriate.  And, honestly, that’s just it: this film knows EXACTLY what it is and plays to its strengths at every turn, making this fantasy film an unforgettable journey through a magical universe where his impossible tasks are achieved and it’s all for love.Man and Witch (2023)

Also included with fun performances are Pauline McLynn (Gameface) as Goat Herder’s mother, comedian Reginald D. Hunter as her boyfriend,  Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Shorhreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse), Michael Emerson (Lost), Daniel Portman (Game of Thrones), comedian Reginald D. Hunter, Stuart Bowman (Versailles), Martha West (The Pursuit of Love) , professional dancer and choreographer Giovanni Pernice (Strictly Come Dancing).

Directed by Michael Hines (Still Game) and  produced by Paper Canoe Company, Man & Witch is a solid throwback film which ushers in the joy of the past highs, with The Princess Bride set firmly in its sights, yet asks the questions to us all: why aren’t people making these types of movies anymore?  There’s little CGI used, and that works in its favor as the story is the focus and therein lies the heart, the humor, and the hope that more filmmakers will follow this formula in the future.

Man & Witch is an unexpected delight.  Bring your family: you won’t be disappointed as an evil curse is broken for all eternity.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Man and Witch (2023)

MPAA Rating: PG.

: Michael Hines
Greg Steinbruner
Shohreh Aghdashloo Christopher Lloyd Sean Astin
: Fantasy | Adventure
The Dance of a Thousand Steps.
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Synopsis: A heartwarming homage to the lo-fi fantasy films of the 80s and a comic adventure that both fulfills and subverts the expectations of what a fantasy universe can be.


Man and Witch (2023)