A parody and satire of the U.S. political scene of the time, HealtH is set at a health food convention at a Florida luxury hotel, where a powerful political organization is deciding on a new president.
The familiar tragic story of Vincent van Gogh is broadened by focusing as well on his brother Theodore, who helped support Vincent. The movie also provides a nice view of the locations which Vincent painted.
Dr. Sullivan Travis "Dr. T." is a wealthy Dallas gynecologist for some of the wealthiest women in Texas who finds his idealist life beginning to fall apart starting when his wife, Kate, suffers a nervous breakdown and is committed to the state mental hospital. Dr. T's eldest daughter, Dee Dee, is planning to go through with her approaching wedding despite the secret that she's a lesbian and is romantically involved with Marilyn, the maid of honor. Dr T's youngest daughter, Connie, is a conspiracy theorist freak who has her own agenda to everything, while Dr. T's loyal secretary, Carolyn, has romantic feelings for him, which are not mutual. Dr. T's sister-in-law, Peggy, meddles in every situation she stumbles into, while one woman, Bree, a golf instructor, is the only one who offers him any comfort and salvation.Written by
Chosen to open the 2000 Chicago International Film Festival, with Richard Gere in attendance. Master of Ceremonies Bill Kurtis, when introducing the film, referred to it twice as "Mr T and the Women". See more »
When Kate leaves Tiffany's she is wearing a dark bra under her blouse. Later when she undresses in the fountain she is not wearing one. See more »
You've Been So Good Up to Now
Composed by Lyle Lovett
Performed by Lyle Lovett
Published by Michael H. Goldsen Inc./Lyle Lovett
Courtesy of MCA Records/Curb Music Co.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
Not the Train Wreck I Remember; More Like a Ten-Car Pileup
I saw "Dr. T and the Women" when it premiered at the Chicago Film Festival in 2000. Robert Altman was there, as were Richard Gere and Shelley Long, two of the film's stars. The theatre was buzzing with excitement as the movie started (big starry film premiers are still a novelty in a city like Chicago), and by the time it ended, you could almost physically feel the deflation in the auditorium as everyone realized at the same time that the film was a bomb.
Because I went into the film so hyped and the movie tanks so badly toward its end, I came out thinking it was probably Altman's worst film. After re-watching it on DVD a few days ago, I realize now that the film isn't nearly as disastrous as I remember it being. The final 15 minutes still stink, but all of the movie leading up to those final moments isn't that bad.
Those who call Altman a misogynist are being unfair to him; his body of work contains a large collection of fully realized female characters. If they are frequently treated badly in his films (and many of them are), it's important to remember that it's the male characters treating them that way, not Altman. If anything, a running theme in Altman's work is the crap women have to take from the men in their lives, and several of his films feel like atonements for all the ways boys behave badly.
It's unfortunate, then, that the one film that exists almost exclusively as an homage to women and the beautiful chaos they create in the lives of men is full of female caricatures and cartoon types. Not a single female character in this movie feels like a three-dimensional creation, and it's a shame because there is plenty of talent assembled to play them. Gere actually manages to give one of the better performances of his career as the man whose picture-perfect life begins to unravel because of the unpredictable female tidal wave bearing down on him, but the screenplay doesn't bring his story or anything else to any kind of conclusion. How ironic that the film was written by a woman.
Altman has always been willing to take risks, and for that I applaud him. But his experiments in this film fail badly. After sticking with a meandering story for nearly two hours, it's as if the film's creators decided they didn't know how the hell they wanted their movie to end, shrug their shoulders and give their audience the finger. The tone abruptly changes into one of slapstick comedy that comes out of nowhere, and a surreal ending that might have worked if anything leading up to it had prepared the audience for it feels stupid.
The female cast includes Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Shelley Long, Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, Laura Dern, Lee Grant and Janine Turner. Fawcett's barely in the movie; Long and Dern, while providing many of the film's laughs, are asked to do embarrassing things; Turner apparently just turned up on the set one day and Altman set about finding something for her to do. I think we're supposed to see all of these women taken together as representing the different facets of every woman's personality, but none of the women in this movie resembles any woman I actually know.
The highlight of the film comes early -- it's a tremendous single tracking shot during the opening credits set in a gynecologist's office. Everything after that is downhill.
Still, the nadir of Altman's oeuvre that I measure every other film of his against is "Beyond Therapy" (1987), and this movie isn't nearly as bad as that. It's not even as bad as "Quintet" or "Popeye," and I have to say that it beats "A Wedding" in a squeaker.
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