The Women (2008) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (2008)


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  • A wealthy New Yorker wrestles with the decision to leave her cheating husband, as she and her friends discover that women really can have it all.

  • Based on a very clever comedy by Claire Booth, wife of Time Publisher Henry Luce and later Ambassador to Italy. One of the surprises was an all-woman cast, novel in the 1930's. And although there were no men in the cast, most of the dialog was about them. The story is rather thin and depended on the fact that divorce, in the 1930's, was not only difficult but almost impossible in New York. Mrs. Stephen Haynes learns that her husband is seeing a salesgirl at Saks, and reluctantly divorces him, abetted by her friends, all of whom have romantic problems of their own. In the 1930's New York women who could afford it went to Nevada, where residency could be established quickly and divorce was relatively easy. The 1939 film, starring Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Crawford, was a hit. This one, with an even better looking cast, is definitely not, largely because someone tried to move a 1930's situation comedy into the present.

  • To her New York society friends, Mary Haines is the perfect woman. She is kind, considerate, and is able to balance her work life as a designer for her father's family business with her role as loving wife of thirteen years to renowned Wall Street businessman Stephen Haines and mother to preteen Molly Haines, all the while still being able to do volunteer work. But slowly, the problems in Mary's life, which she was previously unaware of, start to show themselves. Instead of her father handing over the family business to her as she expects, he instead fires her, believing her work is not of quality since she is spreading herself too thinly over all that she does. Worse, she finds that Stephen is cheating on her with a gold digging Saks perfume counter girl named Crystal Allen, of which her core group of friends are aware. As she still loves Stephen, Mary has to figure out what to do, with much advice from those friends and her mother, who knows more about what she's going through than Mary would have suspected. As Mary deals with this issue wallowing in her self pity, her best friend since college, magazine editor Sylvie Fowler, is facing her own professional problems, which impact what happens to Mary. It isn't until Mary meets agent Leah Miller at a retreat that Mary begins to figure out what she truly wants in life, how to achieve it, and what part she played in the cause of her own problems, not only with Stephen.

  • The story centers on a group of gossipy, high-society women who spend their days at the beauty salon and haunting fashion shows. The sweet, happily-wedded Mary Haines finds her marriage in trouble when shop girl Crystal Allen gets her hooks into Mary's man. Naturally, this situation becomes the hot talk amongst Mary's friends.

  • A group of close friends who try to figure out how to help their friend when she finds out that the husband she has always loved is involved with a gold-digging shop girl. Her friends are all dealing with issues of their own regarding love and family. Although Mary at first thinks she is alone in this experience, she finds out that many of her friends and family have confronted difficult situations in their own love lives. She works her way through this rough patch with the support of her friends and family by finding out what she really wants out of life, instead of just living out the life she feels was assigned to her.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The central character is clothing designer Mary Haines, who lives in a beautiful country home with her wealthy financier husband and their 11-year-old daughter. Her best friend Sylvie Fowler is the Editor of a prominent fashion magazine, a woman who dictates the latest in taste and style for New York City fashionistas. When Mary's husband becomes involved with Crystal Allen, a perfume salesgirl in Saks Fifth Avenue, her friendship with Sylvie is put to the test. Everyone in their close-knit circle of friends, including the ever-pregnant Edie Cohen and author Alex Fisher, begins to question their loyalty to each other and their romantic involvements.

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