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A very beautiful and unfortunately misunderstood movie.
Bella Gray16 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
From the first scene as I was watching this movie it was made clear that it was not a romantic feel-good film. It was not about creating happy and beautiful couples. Even the adultery in the movie wasn't what this all was about. The main plot of the movie, the main theme, was the loss of a child and how it affected the parents and those in their close vicinity. Emilia usually gets a lot of critique from viewers - from what I've seen - because of her status as a "homewrecker". I'd like to add that this isn't what the movie is about. It is true that her character entered a relationship with a married man, but that relationship is never justified. The point of the movie isn't to paint her out as a terrific girl while his first wife (beautifully portrayed by Lisa Kudrow) is supposed to be painted out as a horrible person who deserved what she got.

Through-out the film it's clear that the ex-wife holds a grudge towards Emilia and she does act out on it a lot, delivering hateful comments and says things just with the intention to cause pain. But at the back of my mind this behavior was always justified. She had been wronged and betrayed, and I don't believe the creators were trying to make her out to be vindictive or spiteful - just hurt and angry because of that hurt. And Emilia was never given scenes where she tried to justify what she'd done, or where the viewers were supposed to choose her "side" in the whole ordeal.

The main theme of the movie was the child that Jack and Emilia lost and how that affected their relationship and most importantly how Emilia lived with the guilt of thinking she was the reason why their child had died. Jack points this out, saying that she hurts the people closest to her the most, and it affects their relationship so strongly that it comes to an end. The strongest scene for me, and the one scene that definitely showed what kind of person the ex-wife really was and where it became crystal clear that it wasn't about revenge or hatred but pain and betrayal, was when Emilia gets called to Carolyn's office so that the latter could make it clear that it wasn't Emilia's fault that her daughter died. Carolyn did this for her son, yes, but she didn't have to. If she'd been a horrible person, that a lot of viewers seem to think the director wanted her to look like, then she wouldn't have done it. This scene really implements that it was never about making anyone the victim or anyone the bad guy, but just about showing the situation for what it was and how everyone handled it differently, reacting as real human beings.

I saw no glorification or romanticism of the affair. I saw no trying to blame it all on the horrible ex-wife. I saw three people who ended up in each others life because of a mistake and they all handled it as best as they could.

As for the performances I thought Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow and Scott Cohen all did an amazing job. The movie itself is a very emotional journey if you're open to seeing the bigger picture instead of trying to find someone to blame or hate.
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Quite a nice movie!
Sal D'Souza18 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival. I go to university in Toronto, and I decided on impulse to watch one of the movies in between my classes, and this one fit so I wouldn't have to be late for my next class. I'm very glad I saw it.

The film is about Emilia (Natalie Portman), who lives with her husband John (Scott Cohen), and her stepson William (Charlie Tahan). We watch as her story is told through flashbacks and we learn that John was married (to Carolyne, played by Lisa Kudrow) and had an affair with Emilia. He soon divorces Carolyne and marries Emilia. We watch as Emilia struggles to keep her life together with her marriage strained by the death of their 3-day-old daughter Isabel, and William's resentment towards her.

I really liked the acting in this movie. Natalie Portman is really natural in this role. Scott Cohen and the young Charlie Tahan were very good too, and Lisa Kudrow too, even though she didn't have a lot of scenes.

I liked the story, and I didn't find the pace of the film to be dragging. The characters were well written too- I was always able to see their side of the story and could sympathize and understand them, even when they contradicted with other characters.

To me, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was a very good film overall.
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The Growth of Natalie Portman
gradyharp9 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
THE OTHER WOMAN is a film that is a bit difficult to watch both because of the thematic material and because of the uneven quality of the film itself. Based on the novel LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS by Ayelet Waldman (the original release of this film in 2009 used this title) and adapted for the screen by writer/director Don Roos, the story deals with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), divorce, step-parenting, the legal vagaries that surround divorce and remarriage, and loss. One of the reasons the film didn't make it on first theater release is that it was advertised as 'A comedy/drama that details the story of a woman's difficult relationship with her stepson.' Yes, that is a small part of the story, but this film is hardly a comedy and in fact it seems to have difficulty in deciding just what the main story is!

The opening credits begin with images of an infant girl but as soon as the action begins we are introduced to Emilia (Natalie Portman) and her husband Jack (Scott Cohen) and son William (Charlie Tahan) There is an undefined tension that is soon explained through flashbacks: Emilia fell in love with Jack who was married to OB/GYN physician Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow) and the love affair quickly developed into Jack's divorcing Carolyne and marrying Emilia. The newlyweds promptly had a baby girl who lived only three days, leaving Emilia in a prolonged state of grieving and denial. Carolyne is a controlling viper and makes the couple's life miserable, refusing complete visitation privileges with William, creating a toxic relationship between Emilia and her 'stepson' William. Emilia's friends (Lauren Ambrose and Anthony Rapp) try to make Emilia's life easier but the friction between Emilia and William as well as the constant interference by Carolyne eventually lead to a collapse in Emilia's and Jack's relationship. Some 'truths' come out about the death of Jack an Emilia's daughter and the response to those statements changes everyone in the story - including Emilia's divorced mother and father. Lessons in how to forgive and how to love complete the story.

Natalie Portman proves her acting chops in this difficult, multidimensional role and her performance is enhanced by that of Charlie Tahan as the young William. The rest of the cast is not of the same caliber, failing to make us care about their characters enough to find their significance in this rocky script. Though there are many flaws in the film making it seem to drag on too long (almost two hours), the opportunity to see the gradual growth of the acting career of Natalie Portman is reason enough to watch this little New York relationship drama.

Grady Harp
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Sympathy For The Other Woman?
Chrysanthepop2 January 2012
Don Roos's 'Happy Endings' and 'The Opposite of Sex' are among my favourite movies and his 'Web Therapy' is one of my favourite series. Thus, I was quite excited about 'Love and Other Impossible Pursuits' despite the negative reviews. Sadly this one does not match up even close to any of Roos's previous works. The major fault lies in the writing, especially the characterization. Portman's Emilia is a cardboard of a woman going through the loss of her child and is bitter towards everyone around her. Cohen's Jack is the typical husband who's holding it together and Kudrow's Carolyne is the clichéd bitchy ex-wife. Because of the lack of dimension in character, it's hard to judge the acting.

However, I'd say the actors did the best with what they're given. The best acting moment is the final sequence between Kudrow and Portman (that takes place in Carolyne's office). Here Kudrow, in a wonderfully subtle way, displays layers of emotions and Portman's reaction is good. The other actors don't get much scope except Charlie Tahan who is quite alright.

The movie has a polished look to it. The cinematography is good but the score is very intrusive and adds a feel of melodrama almost like a fluffy TV movie.

I haven't read the book and so I cannot tell what Roos took from the book. But he is a talented writer and filmmaker so hope his next venture come close to the aforementioned examples.
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Love... and other impossible pursuits.
Rubens Junior29 April 2011
Love And Other Impossible Pursuits (horribly changed to The Other Woman) is based on a best-seller novel of the same name by Ayelet Waldman.

In the movie, Emilia (Natalie Portman) is a young, happy, beautiful and notorious lawyer that falls in love with Jack (Scott Cohen) the man who left his first wife Carolyn (Lisa Kudrow) to marry Emilia and also give himself some new colors in life. Jack and Carolyn have a young boy, William (Charlie Tahan), which have some difficulties to accept Emilia as a new member of the family and is always influenced by his mother's tough thoughts and her lack of respect for Isabel's death, the child Emilia and Jack lost few days after her birth. Carolyn also doesn't accept the fact that her son will not have the paternal presence anymore but in the other hand can't handle Emilia's efforts to conquer William's appreciation because all her tries fails with unintentional careless attitudes.

The movie hides from the audience when, why or how Isabel died till the last moment to intensify dramatic moments and give time to plot developments, which works but some elements in the book aren't clear in the movie. The movie focuses her tough relationship with her stepson forgetting some of her problems about why she hates so much other places and people that surrounds her. Of course that we know that all her angry and hate are related to her loss, but seems like everything is just a result of her depression and not because all that she once loved remember somehow her child or her intense desires to be a perfect mother and wife with the man she loves deeply. And those are the other impossible pursuits the title talks about.

Don Roos is a great director who deals with the short thin line between human losses and the problems that come along with it, expressing human feelings in its real form never desperate to get tears from the audience with lame dramatic situations. His movies are always simple, linear and easy to understand but honest enough to make us considering how complex are human feelings and the relationship between them. That's how he succeeds with titles like his acclaimed breakthrough The Opposite Of Sex (1998) and the less known but equally good Happy Endings (2005). But here seems that things are sometimes superficial enough as an ordinary drama that succeeds but could give us a little more than is given. When everything seems simple enough suddenly he tries hard more than is concerned like the Freud-ish analysis using Oedipus parallels and relationship transferring, adding nothing solid to the plot more than a few minutes plus of some unnecessary composition.

Natalie Portman is great for sure, apathetic and cold as the character is even when sometimes her character's egocentrism and selfishness seems a little exhaustive. The same can be said about the other actors, specially Don Ross' longtime collaborator Lisa Kudrow, that once more gives some comedic situations to relieve some melodramatic sequences but suddenly is able to transform a funny performance into an absolutely emotional and delicate situation. The example of Kudrow's outstanding ability is obvious when she calls Emilia to explain the truth about Isabel's death. That scene is fantastic in its simplistic form and what give us reasons to watch Don Roos movies from the beginning to the end.

A beautiful movie, sometimes corny but effective in its purpose.
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It's just the life as it is.
Kin Ng14 July 2011
unlike the comment i've just read through, i don't see this movie is trying to make Emilia (natalie Portman) as any kind of hero. Rather, I see how this movie portraits how contradictory life is, got married with someone who's changed over time and the sparks are not there anymore, seeing a man who you fall in love in first sight but he's married, grow up in a broken family angry with the irresponsible dad but turned out everyone forgive him for nothing, giving birth to a baby but it dies in 3 days, have to be step-mother dealing with a "son" that's not yours, all these make Emilia lost, she started pissing off people, from strangers to her husband, she did try fixing all those from time to time but either she did it the wrong way or it just so happened that things are too complicated to straighten out, life's just too complicated. at the end everyone around her cannot put up with her anymore, not even her husband...

and probably all she's done was due to that at the bottom the heart there was a knot, a thing that she couldn't let go couldn't forgive herself, until Carolyne told her no, u didn't do it, it wasn't your fault.

after then, she changed, but only to find that the world is not like the same, no matter what she does things done are irreversible, and no matter how u apologize or make your talk the ones who was once closest to u can simply turn their back to u giving u an answer "no, i cannot do it", and this is a very true portrait of life, and it touches me.

to me, i don't see any ethical problem or anythg like such in the movie, after all it's not uncommon to see more hysterical stuff happening around us in this world this story is just about life and how tiny and complicated it can be to every of us.
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Boring and Superficial Soap-Opera
Claudio Carvalho8 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In Manhattan, the twenty-two year-old Harvard lawyer Emilia Greenleaf (Natalie Portman) has a crush on her boss Jack Woolf (Scott Cohen) and they have a love affair. Jack has a wasted marriage with his wife, the prominent and snobbish Dr. Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow), and their only son William (Charlie Tahan) is his pride and joy. When Emilia gets pregnant, Jack divorces from Carolyne and marries her. The intelligent William is poisoned by his mother and resented with his stepmother. Emilia, who has issues with her womanizer father, delivers Isabel and three days later, the baby dies. Her dysfunctional family with Jack and William never works and Carolyne makes her relationship with William harder and harder. When Emilia reveals to Jack that he might have killed Isabel, their marriage ends. But surprisingly William asks his mother to help Emilia to learn the truth about the death of Isabel.

"Love and Other Impossible Pursuits" is a promising story with interesting subplots that are superficially approached and in the end becomes a boring and shallow soap-opera. I do not recall any other movie with so many "- I am sorry" and inconvenient arguments and comments in front of a child like Emilia and Carolyne do in this film in front of William. Natalie Portman's character spends most of the time whining and her behavior seems to be incompatible for a woman graduated in Harvard. I do not know who might have the twisted sense of humor to categorize this film as a comedy. My vote is three.

Title (Brazil): "As Coisas Impossíveis do Amor" ("The Impossible Things of Love")
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Portman delivers a believable character study
perkypops29 May 2012
Natalie Portman delivers an astonishing character study as Emilia Greenleaf a woman who has, in her own words, broken one marriage, and seems unable to stop herself breaking her own following the death of her three day old baby. We see her demise through her relationships with William (Tahan), her husband Jack (Cohen), and his first wife Carolyn (Kudrow). When Portman is on screen with William the film seems to move in a believable direction and yet with Jack and with Carolyn, alone or together something seems not quite as understandably real.

At first I wanted to blame a lack of chemistry between Portman and Cohen and yet there are tender moments seemingly nullifying my questions about their relationship. Charlie Tahan is excellent throughout and so I am left with a question mark against the casting of Jack and Carolyn, or, perhaps, the screenplay involving them. Portman's character is simply played out as a determined and privileged young woman who cannot cope with being denied what she really wants and needs above all else - to be seen as the person she thinks she is and not the woman she really is. Her defensiveness is seen in many of the scenes Portman delivers which is why I consider her performance as astonishingly accurate and I just wish the flaws elsewhere could have been better handled.

Although there is a rewarding end to this film, a catharsis if you wish it to be one, it still leaves a feeling that you have watched an unfinished work, one which could and should have delivered so much more from the characters around Emilia. Perhaps, at heart, the film cannot get beyond a feeling of superficiality that surrounds some of the plot, which is a pity because it could have been so much better.
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Contrast to the standard rom-com
rogerdarlington16 December 2011
Inevitably seeing this movie brought to mind another with a similar title, "Love And other Drugs", which was released later but I saw first. As well as titles with the same three first words, both films are based on a book (in this case a successful novel by Ayelet Waldman), are scripted by the director (in this instance, Don Roos), have an attractive and young lead actress (in this one, Natalie Portman), and deal with challenging social issues (this time, step-parenting and infant mortality). However, where "..Drugs" was a romantic comedy, "..Impossible Pursuits" has less romance and very little comedy. In fact, at times it is quite harrowing.

It works because of an intelligent script (although the dialogue is sometimes hard to follow) and some fine acting, not just from Portman - who is excellent - but Scott Cohen as her husband, Lisa Kudrow as the ex-wife, and Charlie Tahan as the troubled child of the first marriage. Many films set in New York include scenes in Central Park, but here the location is particularly well used, especially in a silent walk to remember the deaths of the unborn or newly born. The soundtrack too neatly complements the action in a work that is well worth viewing as a contrast to the standard rom-com.
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It could have been so much more...
Paul Magne Haakonsen30 April 2011
"The Other Woman" or "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits" as it is called, is labeled as a comedy and drama? Comedy? Are you kidding me? The movie is pretty far from being funny. A drama, yes. But comedy? No way...

The story told in the movie is about Emilia having to come to terms with being the stepmother to William, a rather unique child. But at the same time she is struggling with the trauma of having lost her child, a rocky marriage to Jack and having to take the verbal beatings of his ex-wife Carolyne. The movie deals with a lot of good subjects, matters that are close to heart and real life. However, sadly enough, it never really fully delves into these matters, it is just superficially touched. And that is a terrible shame, because the movie had potential to become a very touchy and heartfelt movie. Instead it just came out as a superficial, shallow movie that wanted too much but delivered too little.

As for the cast in the movie, well they had some really good names on the list, lots of good actors and actresses. Natalie Portman portrays Emilia in a very good way, and you do buy into her performance, except for the crying scenes, they were just not sinking in, they didn't work at all. Lisa Kudrow did a good job as Carolyne (Jack's ex-wife), however, Kudrow is still stuck with the Phoebe Buffay image, so it was casting a big shadow over her, unfortunately. Charlie Tahan did a marvelous job in portraying the troubled boy William. And he was perhaps the most memorable of all in the movie.

This movie had potential to be great, but it failed to deliver, and that was a shame. When the movie was over, I was left with a thought saying "was that really it?". I was disappointed in how the movie dealt with the deep matters that were part of the storyline. And as such, I am only rating the movie a 4 out of 10. The superficial nature of the movie drags it way down, but the solid performances of the cast manages to make the movie bearable to sit through.

Sadly, this movie was not all it could have been...
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Soap opera on film...
Siamois14 April 2011
Falsely advertised as a dramedy centering on the relationship between a woman and her stepson, director Don Roos has instead awkwardly mixed genres and themes confusingly, without ever getting to the point.

Nathalie Portman is stunningly beautiful but rings false as a lawyer/grieving mother. There is absolutely no chemistry with Scott Cohen, who is bland to the point of being forgettable. Most of the the actors are mailing their performances with the exception of the kid, Charlie Tahan, who is a nice surprise.

But what this film lacks most of all is a strong story. Instead, we are subjected to what looks like an amalgam of depressing vignettes from the upper middle class in America. On top of being confusing and without purpose, at no point whatsoever can you sympathize with any of the characters. Even the child is obnoxious and unlikable in any way. There are actually few comedy bit and they all fail to even make you smile.

This makes for a film that is devoid of artistic merit and entertainment value. I'll know to avoid Don Roos' work from now on....
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Very moving and somewhat inspiring story about a mother's loss and the fight to recover. Great acting, great movie, I say A
Tony Heck16 May 2011
Can you love someone's son after you lost your daughter? Emilia's (Portman) relationship with her husbands son is strained after the death of their 3 day old daughter. To make matters worse his ex wife (Kudrow) is doing her best to turn the son against her. This is a very heartbreaking movie to watch and it is a little difficult to make it through. Much more devastating then "Rabbit Hole". Portman is incredible in this and actually should have won the Oscar for this and not "Black Swan" (though she did deserve it). Although this is a very hard movie to get through it is entirely worth it and you will be glad you watched it. This is not a typical Hollywood movie and that's why it is so good. Very heart-wrenching and moving. It will make you examine your life to decide what is important. When you watch this make sure you don't have plans after, it will bring you down, though the ending is a little uplifting. I really enjoyed this movie, much more then I thought I would. I give it an A.

Would I watch again? - I might, but it would be tough.

*Also try - Rabbit Hole & Step Mom
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A sensitive and emotional journey
Gordon-112 May 2011
This film is about a young woman who loses her newborn daughter after she gets married to a divorced lawyer.

"Love and Other Impossible Pursuits" is a beautiful and sensitive film. It depicts the psychological states of the main characters so well. From the grieving Emilia, hysterical and jealous Carolyne, the oppositional and confused William, and the stressed out Jack who is stuck in the middle. Natalie Portman plays Emilia, whose psychological state changes dramatically throughout the film. She carries her character well, as she effortlessly enact the emotional roller-coaster. The plot is engaging, interesting and human. The only problem I have is the title, "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits" sounds like a romantic comedy, which it is definitely not one; while the other title "The Other Woman" does not portray fully what the film is about either.
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Good, but certainly no comedy!
ken_bethell18 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Portman plays the young second wife of a New york lawyer.Already labelled a home-wrecker she is furthered burden by guilt borne out of a mistaken belief that she accidentally smothered the couple's eight day old daughter.Her guilt clouds her judgment and she eventually alienates her friends and family. So you get the idea. It is a strong family drama that is well paced and finely acted with Natalie Portman offering a far greater range of her acting ability than she did in 'Black Swan'. Just how the studio came to include 'comedy' in its description however is totally beyond me. There are smiles but certainly no laughs. What is intriguing is why this film had such a limited cinema release.It appeared briefly in autumn of 2009 and then was shelved completely until released on DVD just recently. Given that Portman has been collecting all the acting accolades since last Xmas it is mystifying as why the studio wouldn't want to capitalise on her success.I wonder maybe if some of the hostile comments aimed at the Portman character in this film may have influenced the studio's decision to withhold its release.
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Outstanding and Realistic Portrayal
steph_jt2 May 2011
I'd love to be able to critique this film, but it really wouldn't do any justice to what is a remarkable film, with flawless acting throughout. I was taken on a journey that both touched me, and at the same time frightened me beyond belief. For many this film may be too real, and the urge to dissect it may be more a manifestation of their fear of connecting with the content, rather than actual issues with the quality of the film itself. I'm so glad this content didn't become a made-for-TV piece of fluff with poor acting and direction, but rather, was given the respect it deserved by the capable talents of all that were involved.

If you are brave enough to engage with the content, you are guaranteed to be rewarded with an amazing experience, as this movie pulls together so many elements of the human experience, and does it in a manner that never feels artificial or trite. For me this was this most rewarding cinematic experience in a long time, even though I found it difficult to watch at times, such was the affect it had on me emotionally. Portman has been impressing me quite a bit of late, and for my mind, this is her best work to date, and in the process she has set the bar high for others that follow. I've never been much of a fan of Lisa Kudrow (other than in Friends), and was admittedly disappointed to see her cast in this, but she turned out to be outstanding in her part as the bitter and hateful ex-wife. I could go on, and on, about the cast, as I really can't think of any movie where I was impressed with every single performance, but this is one where I was.

Do yourself a favour, buy a box of tissues, and a comfortable place to sit, because this is a journey that will enrich your life, and not merely take up some space in it.

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television level common drama--cloying and sad and manipulative
secondtake8 September 2013
The Other Woman (2009)

You might put up with this glaringly mediocre film by seeing how it deals with things that matter to ordinary people. Ordinary very rich people. It's about relationships, about wanting a child and having that go wrong, about taking care of someone else's child. It's about cheating and being in love and falling out of love. I mean, it's all good stuff.

But the writing is routine to the point of deadening. The filming (photography) is either routine or it strives in little ways to be "interesting" by moving or gliding, but for no real reason except to keep it from being static. The acting is solid but unexceptional, including the main performance by a good Natalie Portman. The music is saccharine, at least against the backdrop of these events, as if trying to inflate them.

Yes, this is an annoying movie if you pay attention to how it is made. If you are just watching for what happens, it's fine, but frankly just a bit boring. And besides Portman, the main star is, in some ways, the boy who is shuttled between parents and stepparents, and he's weirdly unsympathetic (on purpose). There are little moments that are meant to be intensely personal, and yet they seem like they're "meant" to do that. It doesn't emerge from events, or from character.

Ugh. I know many people will see this and like a lot of it. Good! It's not on the surface too bad, I know that. But the more I watched the more it got under my skin like lice.
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pmloxterman21 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the most saddest, depressing, ignorant, twisted, and screwed up movies I've ever seen in my life. There are so many situations in this movie that a.would never happen in real life in a million years Or b. If they ever happened, it would be a skit in a twilight zone show that you would turn off in the first 5 minutes. My stomach was so upset by the anger and the crap they call "artistic", like a couple arguing over whether or not the loving mother accidentally murdered her baby or not. Stupid, unrealistic, idiotic, and very depressing. The are no redeeming qualities about this movie. If you are 1/100th of a percent depressed over anything, especially blended family problems, don't watch this movie, you'll be looking for a psychiatrist that day. Talk about a downer. Losing a baby is a terrible thing, everyone knows that. But we don't need to have it displayed on the screen, and handled in the most heart wrenching way. You would not let an 8 year old perform brain surgery, why would you let one talk about the death of a baby like it wasn't a real person, to the mother who lost the child. I will avoid watching anything done by IFC!
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Could not finish watching
adventurer_ci8 August 2013
I could not finish watching this movie. Boring, predictable, poor

performances,clichés, miscast. It becomes boring right from the start-

unbelievable situations, conversations,melodramatic script. Almost all

performances are unbelievably bad, the kid including.Can Lisa Kudrow even

act? I don't know how it ended and don't care. I quit when they were

getting ready for a remembrance march- the whole thing looked so fake,

including emotions. Marching to show your grief- something is very screwy

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false advertisement
yakirice30 April 2016
Natalie might be cast in the role of the "other woman" but this isn't about cheating, nor is it about step-parenting. The whole movie is about SIDS. The movie never really shows what second wives really go through, which is baby-momma drama. There was none of that. Natalie had hardly any dialogue in the entire film, and there was little to no character development. Natalie might be cast in the role of the "other woman" but this isn't about cheating, nor is it about step-parenting. The whole movie is about SIDS. The movie never really shows what second wives really go through, which is baby-momma drama. There was none of that. Natalie had hardly any dialogue in the entire film, and there was little to no character development.
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Decent enough
hall89530 March 2015
Natalie Portman plays Emilia, the other woman. Emilia had an affair with her boss, Jack. Jack divorced his wife to marry Emilia. Everybody did not live happily ever after. From the moment we first meet her it is obvious Emilia is struggling. There is tension in her marriage, her efforts to be a stepmother to Jack's son are failing miserably. And there is an undercurrent of sadness always lingering, a horrible tragedy having occurred, a tragedy which haunts Emilia. The woman is a wreck, her life is a sad shambles. And she's not getting much sympathy. Jack's first wife Carolyn, not without reason, despises Emilia and does everything she can to make the life of the woman who replaced her completely miserable. Carolyn poisons her son, William, against Emilia. William has no respect for Emilia and acts out against his stepmother in rather cruel ways. All the mothers of William's classmates treat Emilia with utter disdain, scorning her as a home wrecker. Jack is the only person Emilia has to turn to but even that relationship is strained. It's a desperately sad situation yet many people would say Emilia is getting exactly what she deserves.

Emilia certainly is not a perfect person by any means. She has gone down some morally deficient paths. And with her cold personality she's a very hard person to warm up to. But as the story unfolds, flashing back to happier times and then to desperately sad times before catching up with the present, you can see where that coldness might come from. This is a woman who has been emotionally wounded in the worst possible way and who carries around an unbearably burdensome guilt. Yes, she made mistakes but she is now doing the best she can to put things right. She could use a little help but that help is very hard to come by. A woman who breaks up a family is not the most sympathetic of characters and that is a bit of a problem for this movie. Because for the movie to work you really have to sympathize with, and pull for, Emilia. And at times that is very hard to do.

Portman does a reasonably good job in the starring role. The story requires Emilia to be cold and often unpleasant. Perhaps Portman made Emilia just a little bit too cold for the movie's good. Lisa Kudrow, playing Carolyn, holds nothing back. If Emilia is somewhat cold Carolyn is the absolute ice queen. If anything makes you sympathize with Emilia it is the way Carolyn berates her at every opportunity. Charlie Tahan, playing young William, seems to grow into his role as the movie progresses. At first William comes across like a total brat but the kid has been put in a tough spot. It seems he wants to hurt Emilia but maybe he's just a kid, maybe he doesn't even realize the impact of his words and actions. As the relationship between William and Emilia evolves Tahan and Portman have some nice moments together. And in a movie filled with so much hurt we really need some nice moments. You would think the role of Jack would be vitally important, and it probably should be. But Scott Cohen does not make much of an impression in that role. A few other characters pop up with their own accompanying subplots, most notably Emilia's parents. But the movie is really all about Emilia, all that she has to deal with and her struggles to handle it all. In the end it does not come together perfectly. Things get a little melodramatic and the movie rushes through an awkward ending which doesn't really work. However there are enough good things here to make The Other Woman worth seeing. The story isn't perfect, the characters are flawed but the movie still holds your attention. Not a great movie by any means but reasonably compelling and entertaining.
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Portman once again False Trite Monotone insipid
hundredgoldstars24 April 2011
A very boring performance by Portman here. She struts her bag of tricks which has been thinned down to simply a 'tude' It's simply unappealing and tanks the film. As she has exhibited in recent films - Her acting is false, trite and monotone. There is no chemistry. It's painful to get through. Portman makes the film small and insipid. She's worse here then she was in Swan or those other recent films. Her choices are confusing and without purpose and one is left with no sympathy with her character. As once reviewer put it - She seems to be about snatching the fame. Snatching the money. Snatching recognition. Snatching, without acting.
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rich people and their problems...
MLDinTN30 November 2011
is basically what this movie is about. And the film goes out of its way to make the two female character, played by Portman and Kudrow, seem very dislikable. Kudrow is the ex-wife and is just plain ugly at times with what she says and is a control freak. You don't feel sorry for her that her husband left her for a younger woman. Who would want to listen to her carry on at home. Portman, is the younger woman, Emilia, whom steels her boss, Jack, from Kudrow. She gets pregnant, so he decides to divorce and marry her. Their baby dies 3 days after being born. Then there is the stepson, William, whom seems to set Emilia off. She seems very annoyed by him and always does or say the wrong thing. Emilia also has problems with her father and brings that into her marriage. The way everyone is portrayed in the movie makes you wonder how they ever got married in the first place.

FINAL VERDICT: No one is likable in this. Not worth a viewing.
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a surprisingly good comedy and another unsurprisingly crappy straight to DVD drama starring Natalie port man since the black swan
rapbuddha19 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a really bad movie starring decent actors and nice shots of new york but with a laughable script and characters who although really obnoxious, i cant say that they are totally unrealistic-i am a lawyer in Piraeus, Greece and most people i know-Greek ''petit bourgeois''- are cynical, boring and fake just like the film characters- i often wonder if people in second rate cheesy Hollywood films like this one act the way people in real life behave or if it is the other way around, if people in small and globally unimportant countries like the one i have the misfortune to live in, currently struck by a sudden wave of huge unemployment,try to act like actors in US films so they can cope with business and social life situations and achieve the American-global dream egg finishing studies only as a means to getting married to a 50 year old fart -who exploits all the other young lawyers that didn't get laid with him, by underpaying them to do all his work- with a big house, a big car, lots of money, problems solved. However, the dialogs are more ridiculous than plan 9 from outer space, Natalie port man is way overrated both as a serious actress and a sex symbol, her aging face not being cute anymore and her average skinny short body very mildly desirable. Btw, she tends to act in a neurotic way in almost every film she stars in, even in comedies, shes hyperactive and screams a lot. I wonder if shes on coke or a crazy person in real life as well. She always impersonates lawyers, doctors, professors etc, women with a ''strong personality'', that is aggressive ball breakers with money and/or prestigious jobs to back their psycho and rude behavior towards mankind. I imagine that this could easily be the true personality of a Hollywood diva who also has a prestigious university degree. Despite what another commenter has written, the movie Doesn't show the viewer where it leads to until the end when you finally realize it was about the stepmother-stepson relationship. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, when Natalie was screaming(the way she did in the rest of the movie as well, for the most part), my stomach ached and i had a fleeting thought that i watched the black swan 2, a thriller in which the former ballet dancer would take her revenge on men by marrying them and then cutting their penis and murdering their only child, something like De pal mas Carrie but with female lawyers and not high school students in it. The only plus of the movie is the child actor. Don't know him, hadn't seen him before, but he was the only decent actor in this mess of a movie, supporting the ridiculous lines he had to speak out the way a top notch experienced actor would. Then, after laughing through the entire movie, comes the monologue of the child actor about death in Buddhism and the possibility of meeting someone dear to you that died again in the form of another person and the close up to his facial expressions and with it a great surprise, i actually cried. Its an extremely powerful scene and GREAT acting by the kid, even the interaction with Portman really works out in this scene. Its the only scene the kid STARS and not co-stars in and its the only scene that is worthwhile and then some.It was a shock to me that a movie i totally rejected from the start touched me so heavily for a few minutes-i don't cry that easily, for real! :p If not for the last 5 minutes, i would call this movie a chaotic disaster and rate it MINUS one(monstrously extremely awful). Watch out for the kid. Given a little luck, he might turn out a very gifted and successful actor within the next ten years!
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Don Roos' warts-and-all writing and directing hardens this soft-soaper
bob_meg27 July 2011
Not many mainstream audiences like Don Roos' films. They're overpopulated with snarky, whining, generally unlikable characters.

From Dee Dee Truitt's (Christina Ricci) blackmailing, lying, whoring sociopath/heroine in "The Opposite of Sex," to Lisa Kudrow's emotionally repressed and hostile Abortion Counselor in "Happy Endings," to Natalie Portman's turn as a rage-twisted woman-child in this film, his scripts don't court your approval and neither do the actors. They are, however, despite their flaws, realistically and compassionately rendered.

I was filled with dread when I first heard about this movie. Natalie filling in for J-Lo was a promising development, but what did that say about the material?

Wisely, Roos doesn't take you through the whole, well-worn story arc from start to finish, sequentially. He isolates much of the history in flashbacks and that makes you understand more what he's after. It's not to rehash the old I-lost-my-baby soap opera as much as it intends to focus your attention on how caustic, self-absorbed, and manipulative Natalie Portman's character, Amelia, is --- even if she doesn't yet realize it. It's also about the jagged, slow-nurturing relationship between Amelia and her stepson Wiliam, a very believable Charlie Tahan.

That's saying a lot since Tahan is playing one of those supremely obnoxious child-of-privilege roles that can only be found today. He's more focused on his food allergies and affecting superior airs than on having fun or being a kid. He does, however, have a great BS detector and is much more aware of what's really going on than is typical for a child of 11. In a way, Amelia and he share the same emotional maturity level, but William, perhaps, better deals with it.

All of these dynamics make for a much more substantial and complex film, taking it beyond the realm of mere soap opera or time waster. For fans of Kudrow and Roos' collaborations, there's a big payoff in a scene with Portman and Kudrow in her medical office. Kudrow once again proves she can project about three or four emotions at one time, effectively, in a single scene, sometimes all at once. You may not like her or her character, but it's hard to refute not meeting people like her.

As I said, I was all ready to hate on this film, but I should have known better. Don Roos once again proves he's virtually incapable of writing false characters. For that, we should be thankful.
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Wonderful Movie, deeply touching, human emotions run deep
charlestonharbor9 December 2017
Natalie Portman was excellent, the rest of the cast very good especially Charlie Tahan who played the the stepchild. The sound track was spot on. Only confusing part to me was I watched it on Netflix as "The Other Woman " when the actual title was " Love and other impossible pursuits ".
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