Fun “Chic Flick”
Release Date: September 12, 2008
Starring: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva
Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada
Pinkett Smith, Carrie Fisher,
Cloris Leachman, Debi Mazar,
Bette Midler, and Candice
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 114 minutes
Distributor: Picturehouse Films
Director: Diane English
Executive Producer: Jim Seibel, Joel Shukovsky,
Bobby Sheng, James W.
Skotchdopole, Bob Berney, and
Producer: Victoria Pearman, Mick Jagger,
Bill Johnson, and Diane
Writer: Diane English
Address Comments To:Bob Berney, President
(A division of Time Warner)
597 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 303-1700
Fax: (212) 421-1163
Mary (played by Meg Ryan) is a wealthy socialite. Her best friends include magazine maven Sylvie (played by Annette Bening), stay at home mom Edie (played by Debra Messing), and lesbian author Alex (played by Jada Pinkett Smith). Sylvie learns that Mary’s successful husband is having an affair, which sends Mary’s life into turmoil. Then, Sylvie is confronted with a no-win situation and confirms the affair with a gossip columnist. This creates a rift in the women’s lives that takes a good bit of work to heal.
THE WOMEN is a charming, fun movie that is very well written and well directed. The centerpiece is an all-star cast that delivers wonderful performances. Like the 1939 version of this movie by George Cukor, THE WOMEN has no men on screen, not even in public places. The men in their lives play important roles, but viewers only hear of them; they never see them. The movie is emotionally moving and well made with high production values.
There is a strong moral element to the movie in that marriage is upheld and family is reinforced. While there are jokes about Edie’s children, the end scene in the maternity ward confirms the value of having children. The adultery is always condemned.
There’s also a positive theme of women not being portrayed only for external beauty, as Sylvie wrestles with what to put on the cover of her magazine. Mary’s pre-teenage daughter is starting to struggle with anorexia because she’s not like the women in the magazines. The other strong theme is one of the bond of friendship and forgiveness.
That said, there are elements that merit strong caution. The first is that Mary learns to ask the question, “What do I want?” instead of following in her mother’s footsteps of being a shallow charity hostess. This is a good question, but can potentially lead to selfishness.
The pre-teenage daughter is advised by Sylvie to wait to have sex until she’s “in love.” This is far from a positive message for a young teen.
There’s also a feminist message of sorts in that Mary finds fulfillment not at being a wife and mother, but at starting her own fashion business. Mary’s mother says she only got her status in life from her husband and not from herself. The story walks the tightrope of highlighting these themes, but always balancing them with the pros of motherhood and marriage.
Alex, the homosexual character, is portrayed as a strong, feisty character. There is a running joke about her supermodel “date” and the advantages of being a lesbian.
Finally, the movie contains more than 30 obscenities and profanities.
In all, this is a well produced, enjoyable movie, but one that merits strong caution for the elements noted above.
THE WOMEN is very well written and well directed. There are strong moral elements. The movie upholds marriage and reinforces family and motherhood. Adultery is always condemned. That said, there is content that merits strong caution. The first is that Mary learns to ask the question, “What do I want?” instead of following in her mother’s footsteps of being a shallow charity hostess. This is a good question, but can potentially lead to selfishness. The pre-teenage daughter is advised by Sylvie to wait to have sexual relations until she’s “in love.” THE WOMEN also contains some feminist messages, a homosexual character and an excessive amount of foul language.