Synopsis: When a woman discovers her husband is having an affair she relies on her closest friends to get her through it with their honesty, humor, and very different ways of seeing the world around them. While at the same time helping her rediscover her own desires and needs along the way.
Release Date: September 12, 2008 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Melodrama
The film follows a very generic story line. Four women who are distinctly different, but the closest of friends, are faced with a difficult situation and must bond together to overcome the obstacle. It is a formulaic storyline but rewarding regardless for the audience member who is eager for female empowerment.
Writing: Diane English has created a smart and witty story through her exceptional writing. The characters each have their own very distinctive voice and the dialogue between each plays off the other wonderfully. The dialogue is touching, warm-hearted, brutally honest while being funny and moving at the same time. This is a film that reflects how women behave and talk to one another, not how someone perceives they do. The screenplay is filled with a variety of one-liners (a favorite: “I could suck the nails out of a board”), one is not soon to forget, and you will find yourself engrossed in these women’s lives, and perfectly relating to their positions and the trials they must overcome, with the help of one another.
Acting: All of the women in this film give very good performances, and some more so than another. There is no real stand out performance among the lead characters but one supporting character is unforgettable, that of Maggie played by Cloris Leachman. As the live-in housekeeper she is incredibly funny and her timing is impeccable. With each line she delivers you cannot help but smile, or smirk, or just laugh out loud. She plays off of Mary so well you would think they were mother and daughter. Maggie is truly delightful as she navigates through the chaos that has enveloped her employers, carefully trying to maintain boundaries and failing miserably continually.
Chemistry: The key ingredient to a film such as this is chemistry among the characters. It is greatly achieved in the film with most of the characters (see note under direction). The two main characters, Mary and Sylvia, are the best of friends in the film and it plays on the screen perfectly. They are completely believable and their closeness and frankness with each other comes naturally. The two women could not be more different but reflect upon each other with such ease that you see why they are the closest of friends and the way in which they complement each other.
The other duo of the film that works amazingly well together is Mary and Crystal. They only share one scene in the film together and it absolutely delightful, in a darkly humorous way. Mary and Crystal are enemies in the film, whether they chose to be or not. It is the way in which each shows the other their side of the situation, their raw emotion, or lack thereof, that is flawless for the few minutes they share. It is a battle between two women, who want two very different things, and how neither one is able to comprehend or relate to the other.
Uniqueness: There is one part of this film that makes it unique: the lack of men. There are no male characters in the entire film. It is solely comprised of women and a very striking pro-feminist voice. Although a man plays a very large role in the story, he is not present on film. Instead the movie revolves around the idea that it is the woman who needs to make her own decisions on her own, without the influence of a man physically, and with the help and support of her friends.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Diane EnglishVictoria PearmanDiane English
- Producer(s): Meg Ryan (Mary Haines)Annette Bening (Sylvia Fowler)Eva Mendes (Crystal Allen)Debra Messing (Edie Cohen)Jada Pinkett Smith (Alex Fisher)Cloris Leachman (Maggie)Bette Midler (Leah Miller)
- Screenwriter(s): Candice Bergen (Catherine Frazier)Debi Mazar (Tanya)Tia Nolan
- Story: Anastas Michos
- Cast: Jane MuskyMark Isham
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