The Women (I) (2008)
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This film literally tells women that if their husbands cheat and lie to them, then turn the other way as it won't last and everything will work out, live in denial.
I was hoping to see a inspiring film about how women can live happy and successful lifes without their lying and cheating husbands. Or at least how if one truly loves someone they fight for him and make the partner see what truly loves is. But no this film, the cheating husband got of a women who he was cheating with as they were now living together, and wanted something that he couldn't have. But he didn't dump the her and then show sadness or loneliness, he was still with her until the end when he asked the ex wife for another chance.
So ask yourself, what did the husband learn? or what did audience learn? that if he cheats and then get bored of the affair because she isn't as smart or ambitious as the wife, and asks for another chance then its fine? even if he is still sleeping with her when he is asking you for that second chance?
The two main problems of this remake are product placement and too much political correctness. The original was a great idea, because women were (are?) so marginal in society that a movie without a single man in sight must have seemed a real challenge.
For hundreds of movies with an all-male cast (think about all those war and prison movies ) showing how women exist without a man in sight is still peculiar. In this version, not only they exist but they also manage to make a living on their own.
Annette Bening is the strongest character of the cast, as Sylvie, a sophisticated editor who's best friend with Meg Ryan's Mary. Mary is a much more conventional character. Having discovered that her husband cheats on her, Mary goes from partially employed/rich socialite to successful business woman far too quickly.
Their other two friends are irrelevant and are in this only to add a taste of "Sex & the City". Messing is Edie, a full time mother who stands for "women should be free to choose whatever they want, even staying-at-home mums are OK" and Pinkett-Smith is lesbian Alex, who stands for "everything else is OK, too".
Elderly ladies have Bergen (Mary's mother) and Leachman (Mary's housekeeper) to prove they can still hold their own. Teenage angst is embodied by Mary's daughter and Mendes is temptress Crystal, doing nothing more than shaking her booty and completing the cast for all the Latinos. Only an oriental lady is missing to check all the boxes for the politically correct police.
Most memorable in the movie are opulent interiors and beautiful clothes/accessories. Bening does an impressive job, also because lately she seems to appear only in unsophisticated roles - but a bit of comedy and stylish clothes do her good.
The final scene, with Messing giving birth, drags on forever. It is a cliché giving-birth, with way too much shouting – which definitely did not help with wrapping up the story, even if it introduced for a few seconds the only male (luckily we're spared sight of his thingy).
There are a few scenes I just hate. The whole film is full of gossip of each other.. I get when people gossip about strangers, but friends gossiping about friends? Not cool...
Going to the perfume store ugh.. to confront the woman "stealing" their friend's husband... uhm hello? You confront your good for nothing cheating husband, not girl number 2! That's like saying it's not your husband's fault because it's always the woman's fault... STOP with that... it takes two to tango... (i know she gets divorced later but still).
I don't know... maybe this is how high society females are... no wonder we love making fun of these air heads... but it's not enjoyable like Legally Blonde.. in fact it's not even a comedy... or is it? It did NOT feel like one otherwise I could let this all go...
Mary Haines has a husband who begins having an affair with a "spritzer girl" from Saks Fifth Avenue. This is the basic plot of both films. In addition, the film has NO male characters - this is also true of both films.
How Mary handles this is different in the 2008 version because women have different lives than they did in the 30s. Duh.
But I like the updated ideas and updated relationships. The 2008 version does not have some of the biting humor of the original but it also lacks some of the sappiness, too.
Bette Midler has a tiny part which mimics the original and which was cut for the 2008 version. I'd have loved to see more of her!
Don't expect a lot, but expect a few giggles.
This is a remake of the 1939 movie made from a play. There are only female actors and female characters in the movie. I guess it's suppose to make a statement, but whatever statement it made in 1939, it no longer makes today. The dialog has a lot of superficiality in it, and the characters are stereotypes. It's all very 'Sex in the City', and it does not start off well. The problem is that when something actually happens, the seriousness is lost.
Haines finding out about the affair could have been a very compelling story. It's nothing ground breaking, but going through it without a male character in sight is interesting. Her teen girl could be a great avenue for an emotional story. But it is all very fake. It's all very weak. It's not daring enough. Director Diane English has made a big screen unfunny sitcom with some pretty good actresses.
The surreal gimmick in this film is that, with one exception, the entire cast of The Women is female, not just the major players but the extras. All the waiters and diners in a crowded restaurant are women. We are not, however, talking about a female version of The Hunt for Red October because there are men central to the story even if they are talked about like Niles Crane's Maris, never seen or heard. And that's just as well because they are the bastards who cheated. When Mary (Meg Ryan) finally throws out her philandering husband, the confrontation is relayed second-hand to us via the maid. The daughter watches sadly as dad's possessions are tossed out on the lawn.
A more accurate title would have been The New York City Women because of the sad plight of that particular demographic who find that men and love are getting to be a scarce commodity. The invisible men in this film are a metaphor for real-life statistics. In NYC men are only 47 percent of the population. In college 40 percent are men. Even fewer of them want to get married. And of the ones who will marry, half will stray. Is it any wonder that women might have the feeling that men are disappearing? Mothers in fly-over land laugh at these big-city broads agonizing over the balance of career and family because even though they may have never been to Saks, at least their daughters aren't smoking cigarettes to keep their weight down, getting tattoos or studying to be hookers. Mary barely gives her daughter the time of day but kids need pretty much full-time adult supervision. With absent fathers and mothers who divide their time between boutiques, career and lunch with friends, the supervision is getting pretty spotty.
It isn't really the women who are at fault, it's the men. Back around 1968 women knew what they wanted, they wanted to get married and have children. How tedious and boring. The guys have always known what they want -- boys just want to have fun. They bought the message of their leader, Hugh Hefner, and suckered women with a Three-Card Monte game of "feminism". Women thought they were picking the Queen of Diamonds but got the Joker instead.
Some people might think this obsession women have with love, relationships and marriage is somehow trivial but it really is the most important thing in the world. The birth rate in the Western world is declining and has fallen below the replacement rate in several countries. We worry about declining populations of Spotted Owls or White Whales but what about the White Human? The final minute of this film makes it clear, if we don't get this business right, not only will the men disappear but all of us will.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by a film which was engaging and enjoyable, and which, while BORROWING many of the plot elements from the older film, retold a rather different story, and adhered, almost in a playful manner, to some of the "disciplines" of the original movie, such as never allowing a male to appear on screen.
What really saves this movie is the first-rate performance of Annette Bening, who plays a character named Sylvia Fowler, but who otherwise is a completely different woman from the broad clown character Rosalind Russell created in the older film, with an utterly different story. A similarly successful "transplant" is of Mary Haines' mother, here portrayed wonderfully by Candice Bergen--and another is the role of Edie, here played by Debra Messing (who does give us the sort of broad clowning that we had for that role in the old movie).
One real DISAPPOINTMENT in these updated roles was Bette Midler, who played the character corresponding to the Countess de Lave, expansively and noisily played by Mary Boland in the old movie. The script didn't go into the fun sub-plot of the Countess's boyfriend and his infidelities, and so this character, and its very fortunate casting, remain very tangential; similarly, Cloris Leachman manages to rescue a microscopic role of one of Mary's household staff--but should have been given much more to play with.
Meg Ryan, although turning in a fine performance, is somewhat eclipsed by the talents around her.
However, even though it lacks the style and impact of the classic film, I enjoyed this remake quite a bit, and can recommend it. It won't spoil the old film for you--it's too different from it--and yet, will give you several of your favorite moments from the old film refreshed and renewed, as well as a very different approach to others.
After 13 years of a loving marriage and a beautiful daughter, a woman finds out that her husband is having an affair. The knowledge comes about through the gossip of high-society New York, in this instance the manicurist at Sak's. Her friends soon find out the news as well and act to intervene. I think one problem that people had with this beginning is that in the "modern" world this woman should have thrown her husband out immediately. She is counseled, however, by her mother, not to throw away everything over her husband's "mistake" which clearly has nothing to do with the love of his wife. Several years ago, I may also have found this idea offensive. I think, however, the film does a good job of justifying why a woman wouldn't want to give up everything her life has been about immediately. Obviously, once she is forced to confront the sexy mistress in a dressing room, the abstract idea of an affair becomes real and she throws her husband out.
From here the film shows Ryan's struggle to move on; as her relationship with her friends, her job and her daughter all impose challenges. At the heart, however, remains the fundamental intricacies of all the different kinds of female relations, from her reticent housekeeper to the "other woman" and everyone in between (including a fabulous turn from Midler as a random acquaintance who passes on some vital wisdom). And here, at the heart, the movie shows it's modern grip on the female species: Ryan learns the ultimate lesson that a woman will never be the best daughter, mother, worker, lover or friend that she can be until she asks the real question: What does she want for herself?
Again, I enjoy these kinds of themes, and though I wouldn't make my husband sit through it with me, I would definitely watch it again some rainy day. One more thing, the ultimate revenge scene is delicious! Lots of fun.
First, the plot as described by IMDb is totally incorrect. Mary Haines didn't bond with any "society women" in the remake, unless you consider the pot-smoking modeling/acting agent played by Bett Middler a society woman! So that right off the bat is misleading and inaccurate.
This is a story about a woman who, like many, has completely lost touch of who she is in the busyness of life as a mother and a wife who doesn't really work outside the home (she gets fired by her dad - it's apparent that it wasn't a real job to begin with). She's ambitious and driven, unlike her other married w/children friend who is perfectly happy at home with the kids running around everywhere.
When she discovers that her husband is cheating on her with a Saks perfume spritzer, she goes on a quest to figure out who she is again. She discovers that she is unwilling to let it slide, as her society mother suggests. Finding herself at a crossroad, she decides to go down the path of starting her own business.
I found this movie hilarious, touching, and strangely familiar. I could relate to every one of the characters, especially Sylvie - the busy magazine editor whose career is passing her by. Sylvie plays a huge role in this movie and her character fits in nicely. Not to mention, it's brilliantly played by Annette Betting.
The other characters were just as important. And they were also well- acted. I personally felt that even minor roles, such as the one played by Jada Pinkett, was a fantastic addition. That character, along with the house manager and nanny, added much-needed comedic relief to a plot that is deceptively unfunny.
I liked the movie beginning to end.
Moreover, there's not one major character (or characterization) that I find remotely sympathetic or can care about -- I want to slap them all! Don't care for the wimpy, spineless Meg Ryan character or the superficial Annette Bening character. Really don't like the Bette Midler character (or is it what Midler does with it? It's a toss-up). Hate, hate, **HATE** the Debra Messing character!! Eva Mendes? Flat. Boring. Could do entirely without Cloris Leachman: she just irritates lately wherever she is. And Jada Pinkett Smith is practically invisible in this.
Skip this. Waste of time. Enough said.
09_No men ? That made things boring, forced, and a bit strange especially while a scene like the one in which the 2 maids were repeating all the wife and husband's argument, let alone the endless one-side phone calls, the "he said to me.." lines. Overall it's a dull move that mirrors a complex the movie's she-makers suffer where men for them are "very obnoxious so let's make them invisible", or "we can succeed totally without them". Did you notice how it has no character of a positive man, albeit as a remote intimation ?! Even (Debra Messing)'s husband wasn't there for her delivery !
08_An extremely monotonous pace. The director made nothing special.
07_ Concedences. (Annette Bening) knew about the affair from the shop's girl by coincidence. Then (Meg Ryan) knew about the same affair from the same shop's girl also by coincidence. Then (Bening) and (Ryan) met the affair itself, (Eva Mendes), at another shop by coincidence as well. And that was done in just the first half hour ?! Well, I got the pattern, this movie has a coincidence every 10 minutes !
06_ What's going on ? At first you think that this is a movie about 4 women. Then we have the main story of one of them. Then at the last 10 minutes we come back with them?? In any case, it couldn't be a comedy, or any enjoyable different movie about 4 women either!
05_(Candice Bergen) ??? What the hell she's doing here ?!!!
04_(Jada Pinkett-Smith) as lesbian ? OK, that was only for winning extra bucks from the box office, more than anything. And her acting ?? It looked exactly like a lousy parody of her real life husband Will Smith. Terribly lousy !
03_The long, very long, 3 screams of (Debra Messing) while the intolerable scene of giving birth. And they were stupid enough to put that in the trailer. What kind of a twisted mind that saw that as a good thing ?! This is drastically annoying and no fun. It deserves a Razzie award apart. God have mercy on the ones who had to watch it in the theaters!
02_(Meg Ryan) ?? OH MY GOD. She used to be a sweetheart once. Now she looks unsightly and creepy. I thought this is an odd look-alike who has her same sweet spirit and cute reactions, or this is really her yet wearing a frightful mask that made her face as a nasty caricature! If they give me the choice to be a woman with wrinkles or to be The Women's (Ryan), I'll choose anything but the last. You can say that again about (Annette Bening). The thing isn't about the shock of the sight only, it's rather about features that stop acting anymore. I felt all the time as if I watch (Death Becomes Her 2), or a horrific documentary about the actresses above 40 in Hollywood ! It pushed me to keep thinking; that's more important issue to make a movie about than the one I'm watching, naming it "The Freaks" instead, with a tagline that says "Forget Dracula. Forget Frankenstein. Now we have Botox and Plastic Surgery. And they're BETTER", at least it would be an explicit Horror !
01_The heroine comes back to her husband through a phone call ??? Anyone agrees to shoot that is an idiot !
Now I have an opinion of a friend of mine. I always be aware of her viewpoints about movies, since she told me one time "Men in Black ?? This is so boring. I fell asleep in front of it after the first 5 minutes" (?????!!!!!!!!). She told me about The Women "what a great movie", so when I told her smiling "I didn't like it", she replayed so seriously disgusted "Men !". I believe she has 2 things in common with this movie's makers; they're the only creatures who actually love this movie, and they hate men !
It's a mix of soft colors and deformed women. Yet the worst part isn't its pedantry, it is its fact as a silly romantic tackiness, with nothing new except its ugly – once lovely – stars, and its viewpoint about what a great place the world is without men !. In brief, save (Eva Mendes) in that black underwear, this is awful. I can't think of anybody who may watch it again, even my crazy friend !
There are multiple problems with this movie, the biggest one being that the characters are all incredibly bland. Mary Haines isn't a particularly well developed character and her problems are lame. Even without her husband, Mary is gorgeous, maintains her beautiful Connecticut mansion and finds the time to start an entire clothing line. Her supposed rival for her husband, Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes) is beautiful, but never seems to be a real threat, nor has much of a personality.
Mary's friends are mostly one note as well. Sylvie is a completely self involved person who makes Mary's problems all about herself. Alex barely has a presence, and her distinguishing character traits are apparently that she is black and a lesbian. Edie is the free spirit who really enjoys having children. Little to nothing else is made known about her except for a "shocking" revelation at the end of the movie. It never is clear why Edie and Alex are even friends with Mary and Sylvie. None of them seem to have common interests, and each one seems designed mainly to appeal to a certain demographic.
All in all, this is one to perhaps see once and then forget. The original is much better and less obsessed with brands and trying to send out a positive message to women, while falling flat.
Annette Bening is fantastic as usual and the rest of the cast does a great job. I appreciated the choice to only have females in the movie- it made it memorable. The only male in the movie is the baby born at the very end. If I'm not mistaken, even the soundtrack includes female artists. I loved "Money Can't Buy It" by Annie Lennox which was featured during Mary's fashion show.
I think some women weren't pleased with the message this movie sent. I personally would not divorce a man if he cheated on me but made an effort to have me back. For those audiences who are hung up on this detail of the film, that's your loss. People give up on marriages too easily. If more women thought like the characters in this film, the female sex would have a lot more to be proud of. This movie was realistic and refreshing. I have seen it multiple times and never get sick of it.
For women who want a good laugh and a fun time, I'd suggest this movie to any of them.