Heather Graham makes her feature directorial debut with this week’s Half Magic, which she also wrote and is starring in. Graham plays Honey, a frustrated mid-level executive at an entertainment company who has aspirations of writing her own story one day. Those dreams are thwarted by her boss (Chris D’Elia), who she’s also sleeping with. One day she attends a workshop to give women their power back and meets Candy (Stephanie Beatriz) and another woman (Angela Kinsey, whose character isn’t named anywhere I can find).
The three of them realize they’ve been wasting their time on useless men for too long and so decide to change their situations, offering each other support along the way. For all of them that means giving up some toxic relationships and approaching conflict with a new mindset, one that tells them they’re worth more than they’ve accepted before and are capable of anything.
The one poster for the film is…not that great. For a movie that’s all about celebrating women for who they authentically are and what they really want, using a heavily-Photoshopped image of Graham’s face seems like an odd call, especially since it’s such a prominent feature in the design. She’s shown along with the other two women, all of whom are dressed up and, based on the lights in the background, out for a night on the town. Copy at the bottom reads “Getting ahead never felt so good” but that offers little to no insight on the story or what’s happening.
The first trailer opens up with a flashback to young Honey getting repeated messages that premarital sex is bad, Cut to her as an adult and those messages have clearly impacted her relationships. After she meets Candy and another woman at a female empowerment seminar of some sort we see all three are having trouble with love. Honey is sleeping with a boss who doesn’t respect her, Candy is sleeping with someone who won’t commit and the third is working as a phone sex operator. The three make a pact to take charge of their lives and support each other, which winds up meaning they succeed in other areas as well.
It’s nothing all that deep or philosophical but it does seem timely in how it’s about women celebrating and being there for each other. Yes, it’s a light and fluffy take on that theme, but it’s still there.
A red-band version released later hit many of the same beats, fleshing out some of the character interactions and certainly allowing for more overt swearing and use of sexual terminology.
Online and Social
There’s not much on Momentum’s official page for the film, just the poster, trailer, synopsis and cast list.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’m aware of. There may be some small advertising that’s been done to drive digital downloads, but that’s just speculation.
Media and Publicity
Aside from the release of marketing material there doesn’t seem to have been much press coverage of the film, certainly nothing that would amount to a significant publicity push.
It’s really too bad – and more than a little surprising – that there’s been so little chatter about the film. You’d think that with a message as culturally resonant as this the studio and Graham would want to ride that train as much as possible.
But the movie seems to have been hanging out waiting for release since 2015, meaning it was made before the #MeToo movemenant and other cultural shifts. And everyone apparently is alright just getting it out there with little to no effort, just a couple trailers and done. That appears, though, to be a missed opportunity.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
More for writer/director/star Heather Graham here on how hard it was to get financing for the movie because of a number of factors, including that she was a woman and few wanted to “take a chance.”
Finally, the kind of story I was waiting for about this movie and its relation to the current cultural atmosphere comes from Kate Erbland at IndieWire, with her talking with director/writer/star Heather Graham about the struggles in getting the film made, the story she wanted to tell and why it coming out now feels so important.