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Waiting to Exhale (1995)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  22 December 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 7,003 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 27 critic

Based on Terry McMillan's novel, this film follows four very different African-American women and their relationships with the male gender.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Onika Harris
Brandon Hammond ...


This story based on the best selling novel by Terry McMillan follows the lives of four African-American women as they try to deal with their very lives. Friendship becomes the strongest bond between these women as men, careers, and families take them in different directions. Often light-hearted this movie speaks about some of the problems and struggles the modern women face in today's world. Written by David Adrine <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Friends are the people who let you be yourself... and never let you forget it.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some strong sexuality | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 December 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

4 Mulheres Apaixonadas  »

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)


£1,240,401 (UK) (23 February 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Forest Whitaker stated in an interview with Ebony Magazine that Robin Givens and Halle Berry were among the women who auditioned for the role of Robin. After casting Angela Bassett and Whitney Houston, he decided to go with relative unknowns for the other two roles, and the role of Robin was subsequently given to Lela Rochon. See more »


Gloria's right earring appears and disappears during her conversation with her ex-husband about their son. See more »


Bernadine Harris: I give you 11 fucking years of my life and you're telling me you're leaving me for a white woman?
John Harris, Sr.: Would it help if she was black?
Bernadine Harris: No. It would help if you were black.
See more »


Referenced in Happy Endings: The Butterfly Effect Effect (2012) See more »


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Performed by Chaka Khan
Written by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
Produced by Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds (as Babyface) for Ecaf Productions
Chaka Khan appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
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User Reviews

The Book was Better
26 September 2000 | by (Indiana) – See all my reviews

The Feature Film version of the MacMillan Novel was a welcome change from all the "Hood" movies that were being released. Unlike the Hood movies "Exhale" did not have a plot that revolved around: violence,drugs, and guns. Instead it was a more Upscale drama. If you read the book the roles were cast perfectly with the exception of the woman that played Savannah. Angela Bassett as Bernadine, Lela Rochon as Robin; Loretta Devine as Gloria; could not have been better casted, if the movie were done over a thousand times!

Unfortunately Terry MacMillan allowed the project to get too commercial, thus compromising her craft! One verification of this is the exporting of Whitney Houston from the Music Industry to fill the lead as Savannah. The part of Savannah demanded a lot of acting ability. They could've gotten Theresa Randall, Robin Givens or Tyra Ferrell to do the lead, but they didn't. Instead they hired a pop diva in an effort to get millions of her fans into the cineplexes; and of course sing on the Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds produced soundtrack! Needless to say the grammy Award winner gave a highly unimpressive performance!

As for the directing; now Forest Whittaker's my boy, but the direction needed a womans touch! The story was supposed to be about feminine friendship, and all the complications that go with it.

Despite the box-office success of "Waiting to Exhale" it failed to produce a demand for more Upscale Black Dramas! Macmillan had to do it herself in her follow up book turned movie "How Stella Got Her Groove Back!"

Read my review of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Portrayal of white women emily052786
WTH is up with Bernie's character? IcedChai3
Why did Robin + Michael break up? AMBROSIA992
The black man, white woman, thing is over done !!! afro_747
5.0? WTF! perennial08
The letter Bernie reads towards the end. dashboardfan249
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