Magical Thinking

Phoebe Allie lives with her dog in an apartment in Brooklyn, where she has become a shut in. Self-diagnosed as getting better from her condition, she has crafted a unique recipe of activities that constitute her “best day” that will eventually lead to— “taking a walk in the hood.”

Something or someone repeatedly opens the door to her wardrobe. Phoebe concludes that if she were brave and truly magical, she would be able to go through to the other world of her childhood stories given to her by her long dead Irish father.

Propelled by her mother’s rejections, Phoebe enters the wardrobe and wakes up in her bed the next morning. She believes she has been given a spell to cast outside in order to become of some use to the world. After consulting the Goddess Morrigan and being given a “safe suit” to make and wear, she is able to leave her apartment. However, as the tasks of the other world unfold, Phoebe’s defenses are dismantled and she finally admits what happened that got her shut in, in the first place.

Unable to last the required three days and three nights in the woods without food or water to receive the power to help others, she is convinced she has utterly lost her connection to magic. In a serendipitous moment, Phoebe suddenly realizes her condition has been reversed and a healing has occurred— she can leave her home to live her best day— and maybe she still has a little bit of magic, too.

  • Flowers McGrath
  • Flowers McGrath
  • Flowers McGrath
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 50 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 19, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Flowers McGrath

I began my creative life, from an early age, inspired by the urge to dance whenever I heard music. I was born in NYC and as many city kids do, spent my summers at the beaches of Long Island or the forests of the Hudson Valley where I felt the surge of nature very acutely. This experience of life force within me through dance and outside me from nature, remains always at the heart of my creative pursuits.

I was very lucky to be raised by classically educated, arts loving, and business minded people who encouraged me to write, direct, learn decorative and fine arts, play music, sew and costume, and to enjoy performing.

I graduated from Hackley School in Tarrytown, studied at Columbia University for writing, School of Visual Arts for experimental video and Playwrights Horizons at NYU for acting and directing.

I received my first grant from Tribeca Productions to make an experimental short while still in high school. I’ve written, performed and self produced many musical and visual works since then. Magical Thinking is my first completed feature film. Three filmmakers that inspired me were Hayao Miyazaki, Wes Anderson and George Roy Hill.

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Director Statement

Magical Thinking came about as a challenge to myself to create something worthy of the human spirit after needlessly losing someone I truly admired. I knew at the time, I was not in the position to have anyone green light me, so, I green lit myself— literally and figuratively. I said yes to my creative desire. I knew, the world we are in would allow me the gift of being able to make a film basically alone. We have the tools. We have the technology. What I needed was the courage to believe that I can create long form content that can inspire audiences.

I want my story of being a DIY/maker to be a part of what draws people to watch my film because doing things for yourself can aid in a person feeling empowered to get better. At its core, that’s what the story is about. There is something simply exalting in just getting a little bit better than before when you are not doing so well, that can be very difficult to capture in cinema. Phoebe isn’t trying to become a superstar, but if she can get out her front door, then her music doesn’t have to die on the vine, her life can be of some value. That is actually heroic!

Similarly, I wanted to examine that niggling feeling that causes people to want to hide away and be apart from each other to get to wallow a little longer in a romance with various forms of anxiety. I want my film to say, “There’s more out there! There’s a mystery! Don’t die! Don’t wither! Live!”

Instead of perceiving my film as big or small, I chose to style it as deep. Deep in details, thought worlds, possibilities, aesthetics, symbolism, themes and meanings. An important theme, that I hope people discuss after the film is the feminine divine and the female form.

I wanted to pose the questions— what is magic, where does it live, how does it interact with us, is it divine or mundane, who gets to wield it? Maybe it is in colors, in our things, in our animals and plants, in what we hold dear, in our pasts and futures, in our creations, in our heritage, even in our sciences and media. It can be explosive and destructive but also healing and divine to take that magic carpet ride out of our comfort zones of possibility. Do we exist to remain safe? To preserve our lives? Or do we exist to press outward the skin of reality into new realms of being?

I also wanted to share my sense of fun with the audience. It’s hard to get better. The world is very often tremendously absurd. If we can laugh, perhaps the sharp edges of life will be softer and easier to experience.

If Magical Thinking inspires even one person to not give up and to get a little bit better— then I will have honored the life I lost.