Tina Balser is a bored New York housewife-mother married to Jonathan, a pompous, social-climbing lawyer who ridicules her in front of their children, criticizing everything she does or wears. She begins an affair with George Prager, a dashing, successful and blatantly sadistic writer. Finally after George has tormented Tina in much the same manner Jonathan has, and has been unfaithful to boot, she goes back to her husband and begins group therapy. Written by
Glimpse of a New York of not so long ago that now exists only in memory
This highly entertaining and memorable film provides a glimpse into a New York of not so long ago that now exists only in memory. But Diary of a Mad Housewife ultimately succeeds on the strength of its actors, particularly Snodgress, who plays a Smith graduate-turned prisoner of a Central Park West apartment inhabited by her overbearing, pitifully ambitious husband and spoiled daughters. Her performance is somehow flat and anemic but compelling at the same time--a combination that seems to have been consciously emulated by Chloe Sevigny in The Last Days of Disco.
Bejamin is perfectly cast as the insufferable husband, adenoidally petulant and demanding. When Snodgress's patience is finally exhausted, she takes up with Langella, a glowering animal presence as a bad-boy writer whose selfishness, it turns out, rivals and even exceeds Benjamin's.
The husband and wife represent two people whose lack of use for their education has led them astray: Snodgress finds herself in a state of frustration with the humiliations of her housewifely duties, and Benjamin, unappreciated in his office, comes up with ill-fated schemes for self-expression and social advancement.
All in all, the film brings The Feminine Mystique to life in unexpectedly original and diverting ways.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?