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A Pagan Review of the Film "The Last Keepers"

Sage has been a professional writer of 14 years and a Wiccan for 25 years. Her religious ideas and experiences often inspire her writing.

Pagan Film Review: The Last Keepers

The Last Keepers is an American film released in April of 2013, though frankly I had never heard of it until I stumbled upon it while browsing Netflix Streaming Wireless. This PG-13 sleeper doesn't appear to be well known, because when I ask people about it, most have no idea it exists. It's really obscure. Wikipedia didn't even have a page for it (it does now, as of 2016), and as of the writing of this review, there's not a single written review of it on Rotten Tomatoes. That's unusual.

But, anyone who has read my hubs knows my niche here. I'm not a film or book critic; I'm a Pagan writer who occasionally reviews books and films that touch on Pagan spiritual themes. I guess I am a ‘Pagan fiction buff’-- that is, I like to check out movies and books that have something to do with Paganism, Witchcraft and Wicca (the more it claims to be a realistic portrayal, the better) -- and I know there are more Pagans out there who love to see positive Pagan depictions in film, so I thought I’d get the word out.

I got excited in the first few minutes of The Last Keepers. I had no idea what it would be about when I turned it on blindly, but it was immediately apparent that the family is Pagan. And it appeared to be depicting a Pagan religion realistically.

There is fantasy in it (it is fiction, after all), but there were some very exciting, realistic 'Pagan moments' in there for me, including a very inspiring autumn equinox ritual that’s probably the most realistic fiction film portrayal of a Pagan sabbat ritual I've ever seen.

The Last Keepers

Used under 'fair use' clause for transformative purposes.

Used under 'fair use' clause for transformative purposes.

The Last Keepers

Movies about Witches and Pagans

Movies about Witches and Pagans

The Last Keepers: Cast

One of the reasons I was surprised that I’d never heard of this film, and that so few others have ever heard of it, is that the supporting cast draws from some pretty strong talent.

The lovely Virginia Madsen (Candyman; The Propehcy) plays the practical mother. Aiden Quinn, who's been in some of my all-time favorite films (Practical Magic; Benny and Joon) plays the laid-back father. And Olympia Dukakis, who I absolutely adore (Steel Magnolias; Moonstruck; Mr. Holland's Opus), plays a wise yet light-hearted grandmother.

And this is just the supporting cast! Seeing this list, I felt like I couldn't go wrong watching it. How bad could a movie be with these three in it?

Though she's not given top billing, the film focuses on Zosia Mamet, who was not someone I was familiar with. The only movie I'd ever seen her in is The Kids are All Right and I could barely remember her from her fairly small role. In looking her up I found she's more well known for her TV work than for movies (she’s had recurring roles on United States of Tara, Parenthood, Mad Men, and stars as Shoshanna in Girls. I've never actually seen any of these shows myself.

Her love interest is portrayed by Sam Underwood. It appears this might be his first feature film, though he’s done a lot of television as well.

I have to admit, it was the supporting adult cast and Pagan themes that I enjoyed about this film more than the teen protagonist's storyline, but I’ll get to that.

Maggie Greenwald directed the film, another person with whom I’m not that familiar. She’s done much more for TV, which is probably why The Last Keepers sometimes has the feel of a made-for-TV movie you might see on channels like Hallmark or Lifetime.

I Could Move In With This Earthy, Quirky Pagan Artist Family

Aiden Quinn - The Last Keepers

Aiden Quinn - The Last Keepers

Rhea (Mamet) in her recycled plastic bag dress.

Environmental messages are subtle.

Environmental messages are subtle.

Synopsis of The Last Keepers

Rhea (Mamet) lives with an eccentric-seeming family. They’re artists, they live out in the woods, and worship an ancient Goddess.

Rhea knows about the family religion, and knows they’re the last in this line (most others were killed during the Witch burning times), but she doesn’t know about her mother (Madesen) and grandmother’s (Dukakis) powers. She begins having dreams and visions that hint of the past, and perhaps of the future.

Though these dreams and visions strike her as odd, she blows them off. Rhea’s just doing the teen thing—she’s being angsty. She’s trying to express herself and fit in at school. She’s falling for a cute guy (Underwood) who has a crush on her.

Rhea and her mother are particularly going head-to-head. Her mother demands her dedication to the arts, and does not want her to go to college—she wants her to stay home, learn art, and continue on the family line. Rhea’s dad (Quinn) and grandmother are trying to be more understanding about Rhea’s desire for independence and to find her own future.

There are things Rhea doesn’t know about herself, or her family, that can’t be kept hidden anymore.

Teen Romance Fantasy Films - Gotta Love 'Em

Good teen role models in film can be hard to find. It's nice to see a movie depict teens taking things slow.

Good teen role models in film can be hard to find. It's nice to see a movie depict teens taking things slow.

The Family who Casts Together, Lasts Together

Good Witchcraft is hard to find in films.

Good Witchcraft is hard to find in films.

What About You?

My Opinion on The Last Keepers

My feelings about this movie were mixed. There were things I liked, and things I didn’t like. Let me start with my dislikes first, so that I can end later on a positive note.

Dislikes:

  • The teen characters are pretty much the movie’s downfall for me. I didn’t like the kids, I didn’t like their story lines. They bored me, frankly. I found them ultimately hard to like and fairly uninteresting. Especially the ‘popular’ kids, who are depicted as little more than walking clichés.
  • The distorted Pagan history (perpetuating the ‘Burning Times’ myths). I know, I know—it’ a fiction movie, but the continuous perpetuation of these ‘9 million women were burned’ myths just grates on my nerves.
  • The storyline and outcome were fairly predictable.
  • It drags at times. The pacing wasn’t great.


Likes:

  • It’s a good family movie for Pagans, even young teens and tweens could watch it and might actually enjoy seeing a nice Pagan family portrayed in film. There’s no sex at all and language is pretty clean. The teens do drink at one point, but this is shown with consequences. Personally I don’t mind kids seeing things like drinking or drug use in films, as long as it’s not glorified—it can open up a dialogue. There are a couple of scenes that young children might find scary; the most violent scene in the movie is not that bloody, but it does involve the death of a goat (and before you ask-- no, it’s not a Pagan sacrifice). This might be disturbing for viewers sensitive about seeing dead animals, but the movie doesn’t drag it out, doesn’t make it too gory, and it’s not gratuitous violence.
  • The adult characters, and the seasoned actors who played them. The acting on their part was stellar. I wish Rhea would go off to college, and they would make a part 2 with the adults in the film, focusing on them. These actors are all awesome and I liked these characters a lot—I loved their lives, the relationship between the married couple, between mother and daughter. I would have loved to see more of them.
  • There were Pagans. And it wasn’t a horror movie. Score.
  • The themes and messages in the movie, about all things being connected, about man being not in nature, but part of nature. The scenery and surroundings were often breathtaking. I think it’s a feel-good film—but then, I’m Pagan. In my research I’ve found a few reviews by Christians who were highly disturbed at seeing Paganism portrayed in a positive light in a film advertised as a teen romance; so I guess ‘feel good’ depends on your point of view of what feels good.
  • Some of the more realistic Pagan scenes were pretty awesome. In one of the opening scenes, the mother was performing devotionals to the Goddess, then the family went out to greet the day with morning prayers. In a later scene, the family held a very lovely Mabon (autumn equinox) celebration.
  • Sadly there are still people who will ask me or my family if our religion is like something out of Charmed… it’s nice to have a film where I can point to a scene and say, “No, it’s more like that.”

The Last Keepers Trailer

Final Thoughts

One warning for those looking for this film on places like Youtube— there are some versions of the film posted, but none are complete. There are cut scenes (and from what I could find, it’s mostly the Pagan/religious scenes that were cut). So you might not get full enjoyment out of the film if you seek it on such websites. It’s as of this writing available on Netflix Streaming Wireless, and if you don’t have that you’d do better to rent it or just buy it.

All in all, anyone who likes films with an earthy/magical theme, anyone who likes the teen romance fantasy genre, and anyone who likes seeing Pagans depicted in film might enjoy this movie and should give it a try.

© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright

Comments

Jonathan B. on September 14, 2018:

I love this movie. It's a refreshing change from the "B" horror films that keep coming out every couple of years. I grew up in a small New England town similar to the one used in filming.

Suzanne Cooke on June 13, 2018:

This is one of my all time favorite films. It seems like I run across it just when I need a shot of Goddess love and that old time religion. That is why I don't own it - it shows up serendipitously just when I need it most.

Don't over analyze it. Go with the flow and find the smile in your heart.

dragons2butterflies on October 06, 2017:

I think this is one of the greatest movies ever! I've put it at the top of my list and watch it repeatedly!

People can watch this and pick it apart because that's what people do in these days and times - overanalyze things, even if it is just a movie; but I think it was wonderfully written. We all can think up different ways to portray ideas; but I think it was a great start! I can't stand blood & guts type movies, nor sappy love stories; but this has just a small tasteful bit of them and I could handle it because of if it didn't have just a small taste, they wouldn't be able to grab the viewer. They show certain aspects and outcomes that shake the viewer enough to actually "get it" without getting distasteful. I really hope they choose to make a sequel because I feel super compelled to watch what happens after they left off!! Please, please, make a sequel!!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 02, 2017:

Thanks for the update, Drucifer.

Drucifer on September 07, 2017:

FYI - This is no longer on Netflix (except DVD) but I found it streaming on Amazon (included free for Prime members or rentable by others.) As a Pagan I was happy to stumble across this. Thanks for the review. I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on August 06, 2017:

To my knowledge, this was not a book, it was an original screenplay by a small NY State production company. I believe there is a self-published young adult series by the name 'Last Keeper', but is different.

Witchywoman713 on August 05, 2017:

I thought this movie was awesome. I knew about the last keepers before it came out. I finally got it about a year ago. But I have not found the book. Can someone tell me the author and if has a different tittle please.

Thank you.

Miss Minarchy from Seattle on July 19, 2017:

Very nice review! I love the Keepers. It wasn't super fx'ie or wrapped in loads of stereotypes, but it was more magical and echanting than a lot of other movies that often go far in the other directions. A good story and fiction that isn't all cliches', is all ya really need for a movie worthy of keeping on the movie shelf (or cloud).

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on June 29, 2017:

Kym I agree, I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't have taught her these things either. Thanks!

Kym on June 29, 2017:

I really enjoyed this movie, the part I disliked most is how the mother chooses to keep the knowledge that they have powers from her daughter. I always hate that in films. I hate the fact that they lie to their children.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on June 14, 2017:

Sounds like a fun night.

John Kelly on June 02, 2017:

I liked the story and the cast. I am drawn to Zosia's looks: the first time I saw the film I came upon it at about 20 minutes in: the first shot of Zosia I was captivated.

stellaborealis on January 14, 2017:

The movie has good bones and I liked it. It is wonderful portrayal of pagans is a spiritual sense. The location/geography was wonderful. Who could go wrong with the three adults, Dukakis, Madsen & Quinn. Excellent. The supporting teenagers were Ok. Sam Underwood (Oliver) was ok, although I think he could have delivered his lines with a little more like an intense/dreamer rather than a love-smitten puppy. Now for the bad parts. What was with the little girl in the cheesy satin blue dress and platinum wig? She looked like an alien. The wardrobe/hair people should have been shot (or whoever made the decision). Now for the Rhea character. Casting was all wrong. She didn't look like she even belonged to the family. Too old looking. Needed to be a little less paranoid and a little more boho idealistic with a smattering of teen perplexed look. Overall a good film. At least they portrayed pagans in a good light instead of the usual Hollywood scare hype. Too bad they couldn't do a remake.

Nat on December 26, 2016:

I am watching this movie right now and after watching the first 20 minutes I had to look it up. This is wonderful. I am a wiccan and I am watching with my Christian mother. She seems to be enjoying this too

WiccanLife on December 01, 2016:

How i came about this film, was my mom can home with the film one day (not sure where she got it from) but once i watched it i fell in love. It is one of my favourite films. I suggest to the people who hasn't watched it yet, you must! To me it is a wonderful film. Thanks you for this wonderful review.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 01, 2016:

Hi Monasacct1; Sweep, I did read that series. We all did, my daughter kept picking them for homeschooling when they came out (we used to have a sort of family book of the month club, lol).

monasacct1 on November 01, 2016:

I've watched this movie many many times. I have to agree with your review. Although Rheas movement of the tree stumps and her comment about just trying to see how it supposed to feel (not a direct quote, I know it's off) but that's one of the only teen moments not so hokey. I would love to see a part 2 with more of the adults and Rhea in college

For good Pagan/Wiccan reads, I believe you would enjoy Cate Tiernans Sweep series

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 25, 2016:

Hi! I love Puerto Rico, my hubby is from P.R.

Being a Pagan Witch, life is pretty normal I'd say. But maybe a little more interesting sometimes, lol. Please feel free to read through my articles or ask questions if you're curious. :o)

Madalain Ackley from Richmond, Virginia on October 21, 2016:

Just found this on Netflix. Once I realized it was about paganism, I waited for the usual ham-handed stereotypes. I was pleasantly surprised when that didn't happen. The teen angst plot was the usual cookie cutter. But I did enjoy the adult actors and their relationships. there are rumors of a sequel but time will tell. Lovely review.

Gypsy_Ken on October 20, 2016:

I've always loved the witchy the mes and all. But i Don't know how to find like real Books about their traditions Or the rituales with herbs Or even recepies where i can do things like that. I really want to know whats exacly their pagan believes and how to study their day of life cruz i really want my life like that.

I justo saw the movie. Hi from Puerto Rico!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 26, 2016:

EerieCipher, we're on the same page here with that!

EerieCipher on September 22, 2016:

I both loved and disliked this movie, but I agree with your review! The adult characters were my favorite, but I found myself not at all liking the teens in the movie. I was disappointed that the teens that killed the goat did not get any on screen punishment, seeing as the boy knew who did it. And I did not like how the main girl took the full on jerk teen rebellion thing that fixed itself a little to suddenly for my tastes. I am biased I'm sure. I've never enjoyed movies where most of the teens are unnaturally jerks to such a level.

But the way paganism was shown was amazing and really helped the movie shine more for me.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on August 24, 2016:

I have to watch it RuthAnn, lol. I didn't notice. But if I know or find out anything about it, I'll let you know. Thanks!

Nell Rose on August 21, 2016:

I watched it the other day and to be honest was pretty disappointed. it was so lame, and hardly any magic in it. it was watchable but that was about all.

RuthAnn on August 21, 2016:

I'm curious if anyone knows what the inscription on the fireplace hood says or means. Liked the movie a lot, but Loved the sets most. I'm doing a remodel and am interested in making a fireplace that looks like the one in this movie

Victoria Foster on August 15, 2016:

I happened upon this movie last week on one of the movie channels. Like you, being Pagan I was very interested to see how it was portrayed. I fully enjoyed the adults who played the family. I could have done without the school stuff and wished it focuses more on how Rhea was being taught about her heritage. The morning prayers as well as the Mabon rites were beautiful. I even wrote down the Mabon rite to try and incorporate it for my own. Your review is very well put together and I agree with everything you talked about. I'm kind of interested to read the books to see what happens next. Have a blessed day!

Michael on July 14, 2016:

I just watched the movie and loved it. I agree that the portrayal of pagans in a positive light was wonderful...and that scenery!!!

Liam on July 03, 2016:

You know I managed to watch the entire film, i'm no film critic either. I have to say that while I did love the acting of the adult cast in the film, and I give major credit to several of the scenes depicting something that more closely resembles magic; I cannot stand that the vision, plot, storyline of the movie just kind of vomited on itself the very moment Rhea starts hooking up with that other boy. Granted the teen romance between Rhea and Oliver made me cringe just a tad bit but I let it go. But seriously the ending was so anti-climatic and obliterated the whole point of the story. Oh bam we crashed oh wham I healed everyone (by the way without actually discovering the whole bit and meaning about the power of healing emanating from love thing) and then sham I walk out of the woods where Oliver just magically appears to be driving and then drives Rhea home.

What..? I'm sorry it just seems like it was a magically brilliant idea that ended up so not magically brilliant after all. In fact the movie would have been half as good if it were played in reverse. I give the movie a 4 out of 10 and only because of the opening blessing scene, the autumn equinox ritual scene, even the scene where Rhea is magically place the dead tree stumps into place, and because of the three adult characters and their decent acting. That's it; the end.

Scott on June 25, 2016:

The movie is currently on Netflix and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rhonda Rice on June 19, 2016:

Hi, I found this movie today and have fallen in love with it! I have had Netflix for two years and just found the movie. Nice to know there are films that are positive to my beliefs.

Charlie Pemberton on June 19, 2016:

I saw this movie and enjoyed it. It was a fantasy romance; but pagans shown in a positive light was refreshing. I have recommended it to a very dear friend. Our relationship with the earth is very old and it was nice to see a movie reconnect us to it.

Douglas Keech on May 16, 2016:

Stopped by here by googling the movie. Just finished watching it. I've gotta say, I'd consider myself a pretty devout Christian and I loved this movie. Better than almost all (if not in fact all) the Christian movies I've seen.

Very positive movie, and it's awesome that it turned out to be mostly accurate. And I love that it seems to be just like any out devoutly religious family. It's as if pagans are people too or something.

Heidi on April 09, 2016:

I saw the ending on showtime one morning. Found it playing again and DVR'd it. Was a nice teen family oriented movie.

Maggie on March 18, 2016:

Hi there! I enjoyed your review very much. I watched with my husband recently and was excited to be able to say to him, "Isn't it neat to think there are actual families like that out there?" In the pagan sense, of course. He was like, "Are there?" I was pleased to see you second that some of the ritual and daily life is realistic in the film. Reminded me of my pagan and Wiccan friends in college! I'm a Christian but I recognize that many of my traditions are tied to these older ways and it was always a pleasure to be invited to celebrations like Mabon.

Kelly on March 16, 2016:

Anyone have any idea what kind of Goddess statue can be seen in the movie set's dining room? Looks like a wheat/harvest Goddess of some sort?

Arionna777 on November 18, 2015:

Just finished watching this with my mom! I'll have to go to the library to read the book! Fantastic review

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 07, 2015:

Hi Lela; I agree, it definitely opened the door to potential sequels, as well as prequels. I would love to see this cast come together again for more. Thanks for commenting! ~Sage

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 07, 2015:

Hi Iris, thanks for commenting. I heard rumor of a sequel revolving around the adults but no positive plans yet. I would so totally jump on it if it were made. ~Sage

lela on October 04, 2015:

I really liked the movie and hope that they will make a sequel. There's just no way it should end just when you find the prophecy is true. I also want to see if she remains in the town and how the townspeople react to her powers. I want to see the growth of her relationship with Oliver and her family now that all is revealed. I absolutely loved the cast and hope they can keep them all for said sequel.

Iris ShadoWolfe on September 15, 2015:

Loved it. Just happened acrossed it today, saved and shared with my husband. Great addition to my Practical Magic favorite. So great to have Aiden Quinn and Olympia and Virginia. Did not know the teens at all but would love another with adults primary. Thanks!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on July 03, 2015:

I have heard rumors of a possible sequel featuring the parents/grandmother, when the teen goes off to college. I don't know if it's true (small film company) but I would jump on that!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on July 02, 2015:

Very interesting--I'll have to look it up. Great review!

Voted up++ and pinned.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 27, 2015:

Enjoy!

Kitty Fields from Summerland on March 24, 2015:

I'll have to see if its still on Netflix. Thanks for the suggestion!

Beth Perry from Tennesee on November 12, 2014:

WiccanSage, I had not heard of this film before reading your Hub, and I'm so glad you wrote about it! I didn't know studios ever made realistic movies about Pagans - so refreshing to hear.

I'll definitely have to find and watch The Last Keepers.

Daniella Lopez on November 12, 2014:

This sounds so cool! I haven't even heard of this film. I'm always on the hunt for positive Pagan films and literature. Thanks for sharing!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 15, 2014:

Hi Toretto, I know right? I would too. I enjoyed it very much; if I ever hear about a part 2 I will let you know.

toretto323 on October 13, 2014:

Does anyone know if there is going to be a part two or three or four id pay to see all 10 in theatres I think this move can move mountains it would be a shame to only see one and no more

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 15, 2014:

I love the cast and I'm blown away that I have never heard of this movie. I know I'm kind of "out of touch" at times, but I usually know the movies that are out.....anyway, thanks for the review. I will definitely be seeing this one.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 15, 2014:

Hi Pawpaw, thanks for commenting! Hope you enjoy it if you watch it. Have a great day!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 15, 2014:

Thanks Nadine May, If you are a nature lover I am sure you will at least enjoy the scenery and some conversations-- this movie is definitely for nature lovers.

Jim from Kansas on September 13, 2014:

I haven't seen it, but I might have to check it out.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on September 13, 2014:

Dear Sage thank you for this wonderful review on a movie i have never heard about, but i will go to our video hire store to look for it this weekend. Anything that involves nature has my full attention and as a bonus to learn more about a pagan family is awesome.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 12, 2014:

Hi Catgypsy, thanks for stopping by! Yes, the goat part was a sad part. It was meant to be sad, it wasn't gratuitous or bloody and it was quick, but my heart went out. I'm glad the warning here will save you any unnecessary pain. Thanks for your comment!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 12, 2014:

Hi fpherj48~ I know, she's awesome. I always love seeing her, and she's great in this. When I saw the three adult actors in this movie, I got very excited. Aside from the hocus-pocus of fantasy (which you'll be able to point out right away), this movie does give a good impression of what Pagan families can be like at the core, so I hope you enjoy.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 12, 2014:

Thanks prasetio30, I appreciate your comment. If you see it I hope you enjoy it as I did. Have a good one.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 12, 2014:

Hi Phyllis! Thank you so much~ it's true, it's not something you find often (except maybe in horror movies, and usually the portrayal is not very good). Thanks for your comments!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 12, 2014:

Hi Nell Rose; Definitely worth a look! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks!

catgypsy from the South on September 11, 2014:

I was really excited hearing about this movie until the goat part. As an avid animal lover, that would bother me...regardless of why the goat dies. But thanks for doing such a thorough review on it. It saved me renting it and getting disturbed.

Suzie from Carson City on September 11, 2014:

wiccan.....Thanks for the intro to this movie, which I have not heard of but find interesting. I have loved Virginia Masden since seeing her in "Creator" many years ago (with Peter O"Toole & Vincent Spano).....one of my all-time favorite movies (also a movie with little publicity and/or acclaim) I also like Aiden Quinn and glad to see him in a current film.

I know very little about Paganism but am always happy to increase my knowledge of all things in this world. I'm a huge supporter of life-long continuing education. We positively must keep on learning!

Up++++ Looking forward to seeing this movie.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 10, 2014:

Nice review and I should watch this movie. Thanks for writing and sharing with us. Good job and voted up!

Prasetio

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on September 10, 2014:

Hi Sage. You have written a very exceptional movie review here. I now want to see the movie, for I love Pagan traditions. I agree that there just are not enough films about Paganism that ring true. Well done, Sage.

Voted Up,U,I and H+

Nell Rose from England on September 10, 2014:

Hiya wiccan, ooh now your talking my language! lol! I have to go and see if I can get it over here, its just my kind of thing, just like you I have been a pagan all my life, and it will be nice to see it portrayed nearly right if not completely right, thanks for sharing it, voted up and shared, nell