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Woman on Top
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Woman on Top More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A truly abhorrent and pathetic film.

1/10
Author: ruvi (ruvi@well.com)
6 December 1999

One of the hallmarks of independent cinema is that the filmmakers do not under-estimate their audiences, who tend to be better informed, more intelligent, and more demanding than those who view only Hollywood's outpourings. Thus, they are emancipated from the necessity to be blunt. They can create films of integrity, subtlety, and convey emotions and intellectual content that is never present in more mainstream films. However, this is not the case with Woman on Top. Despite being an independent film, distributed by Searchlight, who also handled the excellent Boys Don't Cry, it seems to want nothing more than to be a mainstream film. This is, perhaps, what is most offensive about it.

It is at this point that I ought to inform you that in the proceeding paragraphs, there are comments which may reveal elements of the plot of this film, such as it is.

In the hour or so that I managed to stomach of this unrelentingly vapid film, the plot barely managed to limp forward from its starting point. The characters were not developed beyond their appearances. The primary character, a female chef from Brazil who moves to San Francisco after the breakdown of her marriage, and all her actions, seem based solely on her aesthetic appeal. Indeed, this is also one of the few sources of the tired humour present in the film. These comedic moments are, without exception, crude and desperately unfunny. Listless slapstick moments rub shoulders with endless scenes of men drooling over the young Brazilian woman and staring in disbelief at her transvestite friend, evidently present to add some essential uniqueness to the film and because, as everyone is aware, anyone who lives in San Francisco is either an intellectual or a transvestite.

Cinema, without doubt, has huge potential as a medium for artistic expression, and there are independent films that are intelligent, well-made and engaging. However, Woman on Top, in striving desperately to be a mainstream success, sacrifices any shred of dignity or integrity one could hope to see in a film. Thus, and in sum, it is nothing more than a lazily made, dim-witted film, painfully unfunny and, if taken as an indication of the drift of independent movies (which, incidentally, I don't think, or at least hope, it is) rather worrying, and certainly sickening.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Isabella is Brazil, and Brazil is Isabella.

7/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
4 October 2009

Who could ever get tired of Penélope Cruz? No matter what she does, she is fantastic. Seeing her in this early film before she went all Hollywood, is pure pleasure.

She has the energy, the charm, the passion that is Penélope Cruz, and she makes eating seem like the most fantastic thing on Earth.

She splits from her husband (Murilo Benício) and heads to San Francisco to take up residence with her best friend Monica (Harold Perrineau). She gets a TV gig after being seen by a producer (Mark Feuerstein).

Now, her husband has found her and works to get her back. Of course, the producer is also after her, and Monica is working both men to improve them and make them worthy.

With a stirring soundtrack featuring the music of Toquinho, Paulinho Mosca, Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra, and more.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This movie needs a new recipe.

5/10
Author: marxi from Louisville, Kentucky
8 September 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***



Attractive actors and colorful sets don't make a movie. This movie needs a new recipe.

*************Mild Spoilers*********************************************

News Flash. Penelope Cruz just isn't a very good actress. I haven't seen her give a good performance yet in the 3 or 4 films of hers I've watched. Hopefully she can do better than this. She simply doesn't have the charisma to carry a film. Enough said.

Supposedly this is a fairy tale about a woman who strikes out on her own when she catches her husband cheating on her. Actually this is more like a poorly written soap opera than a fairy tale. The movie never finds the right balance between fantasy and reality. There are so many idiotic plot contrivances in this film that you'll find yourself laughing with incredulity.

You can see it in the eyes of the performers: what am I doing in this stupid movie? And you'll be asking yourself: what am I doing watching this insipid film. 70/100. Not a memorable film.



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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

What's the lesson?

1/10
Author: Eyes Wide Open
8 December 2001

So what this film teaches us is that... if you cheat on the woman you love, break her heart, she will take you back if you act like a stalker. Also, all nice guys are gay.

It's a shame. All the elements were there for a nice story. But instead of the leading lady trusting herself on her own, she digresses back to her old flame because he sang to her.

Dumb.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A charming fantasy

Author: jrmastic111 from Long Island
21 October 2002

Though this movie was no earth shaking tour de force of filmmaking, it indeed was charming. It was lite hearted and moved quickly. It was refreshing to escape into a fantasy world that not so bogged down with typical formula crisis. It had a few touching moments and was funny without being silly, I liked it and would recommend it as a lite comedy.

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no good men for the lovely Cruz

5/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
29 December 2016

In Brazil, Isabella (Penélope Cruz) suffered from motion sickness all her life. The sea goddess Yemanja compensated her with a passion for cooking. She falls for Toninho Oliveira and they get married. She dutifully worked in his restaurant despite the many admirers trying to lure her away. She finds staying in control by being on top would keep the motion sickness away. She catches Toninho with another woman and run off to San Francisco. She stays with her friend Monica Jones (Harold Perrineau) and TV producer Cliff Lloyd (Mark Feuerstein) falls head over heels for her. Her cooking literally knocks him off his feet. Her cooking show starts taking off and then Toninho shows up.

Cruz is incredibly lovely. She is luminescent. Neither guy measures up. Toninho is a womanizing Latino stereotype. Feuerstein is not a good leading man. Cliff has a bit of weasel and he's not worthy of her. The ending is horrible. Cruz simply glows and her character deserves better.

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Cruz is stunning, the movie is not

4/10
Author: craig-hopton from United Kingdom
17 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gazing with admiration at Penélope Cruz is pretty much the sole attraction of this movie. In fact, that's what the men *in* the movie spend most of their time doing, too. Cruz plays Isabella, a TV chef that cooks with 'passion' - and do so (literally) beautifully.

Everything else about this movie is poor.

It's a romantic comedy so I expected a love-lost-and-found plot line. But the premise of Isabella's break up with her husband Toninho is mind-bogglingly awful. Isabella suffers from motion sickness and so she likes to be on top when making love. Toninho, with the excuse that men 'need to be on top sometimes', sneaks away at night to have an affair, which Isabella discovers.

But Isabella's love for Toninho is so strong (even after the affair), that she has to call down a curse from the Brazilian god Yemanja, to end her love. It's a terrible story line. Toninho is impossible to relate to as a result, even when he tracks down Isabella and sings her love songs to try and win her back. What makes it worse is that the chemistry between them is pretty unconvincing. The supposed animal passion is unevident.

There are moments of gentle humour in the movie that delight momentarily. Isabella trying to make out to another man while Toninho sings Portugese songs through her answering machine was one that stuck with me. But overall, this is not a good movie.

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Cruz on Top.

7/10
Author: Python Hyena from Canada
16 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Woman on Top (2000): Dir: Fina Torres / Cast: Penelope Cruz, Murilu Benicio, Mark Feuerstein, Harold Perrineau Jr.Anne Ramsay: Observant romance about control starring Penelope Cruz as a Brazilian woman who grew up in the kitchen. She has a severe case of motion sickness meaning she will not get in a car unless she drives. She gets married to a singer and they open a restaurant together but when she catches him in an affair she leaves for San Francisco where she hosts her own cooking show. While predictable its foolishness evolves around the sea god these people pray too for fish. Scenes such as this can seriously jeopardize the tone of the film but luckily the leads hold strong with their innovative pursuit. Director Fina Torres tackles interesting issues regarding relationships and food all done in superb visual style. She is also backed with three principal actors that prevent the material from sinking too far in silliness. Cruz delivers a fine performance with charm and appeal, and Murilu Benicio is equally superb as her remorseful husband. They are intriguing together and create a genuine sense of romance. Mark Feuerstein plays an executive who falls for her and creates a few humorous moments. Other roles are unfortunately flat and generally lack anything to render them watchable. Silly but worthwhile film about relationships and food. Score: 7 ½ / 10

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film? OK Penelope? WOW!

7/10
Author: TheGrandman from United States
27 April 2015

Yes, it's sappy and kind of silly, but it has a neat story and great music. Overall, I would rate this film as good 7, but in the romantic or date night movie category it's really a 10.

The characters are sizzling cool and quirky enough to be humanly interesting. It is a timeless story of hope... most of all a love story about a woman loosing her love of her soul-mate, yet by following a somewhat funny path (away from him) she finds that the love returns and she owns it again.

And I challenge ANYONE (man or woman) to watch this cute little movie and not fall just completely in love with Penelope Cruz. Beautiful and sweet doesn't do it - she is, instead, absolutely mesmerizing.

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How COULD she? Squeezing her coconuts for all the world to see!

6/10
Author: Ben Larson from Leesburg, FL
18 December 2013

Machismo. It's that thing that means a man is always King of the castle, even if he has no castle.

In this land, here Brazil, Isabella (Penelope Cruz) was the man. She had to be in control, and her husband Toninho (Murilo Benicio) suffered the laughs of their friends and acquaintances.

He could stand no more, had an affair, and she left.

A move to San Francisco, a little witchcraft, and success appears as she forgets Tohinho completely. Oh, and there is Monica (Harold Perrineau), a real blast!

Director Fina Torres gives us a funny and romantic film with great Latin music in the background.

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