Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Women


The reviews for this were so abysmal I almost didn’t rent it, But the cast was so wonderful I didn’t see how I could pass it up. But … 13% at Rotten Tomatoes? That’s just about as low as it goes. Then I took a closer look. RT and Metacritic use some sort of weighting system that can be thrown considerably out of whack if, say, a whole lot of critics give the movie 2 stars, or 40%, or something just below a recommendation. It means they didn’t like it, but they didn’t hate it. I think something like that happened here. None of the reviews I sampled were vicious. Most of them said something to the effect that a great opportunity had been wasted by a poor script. I find that I pretty much agree with that. There were some good moments. But it could have been so, so much better.

Right out of the gate, I have to overcome my reluctance to give a shit about rich people and their problems. Rich women who are deeply into fashion and shopping is another hurdle to clear. Then there’s the fact that they’re New York sophisticates. (I love New York, except for the fact that it’s populated by New Yorkers.) But Meg Ryan and Annette Bening were very good, and so were Candice Bergen and Cloris Leachman … and a lot of others. Quite a cast, in search of a better script. It was written and directed by Diane English, who created “Murphy Brown,” so we know she can write. But I understand it took her 15 years to get it made, and I think I know what might have happened. It got stale, the same thing that happened to my film,
Millennium. Too many years on the shelf, too many re-writes, and without you realizing it, the life goes out of it. Too bad.

This has to be the ultimate chick-flick. It’s a remake of the 1939 George Cukor version of Clare Boothe Luce’s play. Cukor was the best at what they then called “women’s pictures,” and though I haven’t seen it, it’s an acknowledged classic. Both films have all-female casts, literally; not even a single extra in either film is male. (In the last 30 seconds of the remake a male baby is delivered, which I thought sort of spoiled the conceit.) There have been countless movies with all-male casts, but offhand, I can’t think of another all-female picture. Think about it. Not even a walk-on part? Elevator operator, cab driver? Some mope walking down the street? Even the artwork hanging on the walls depicted only women. I love that idea. Again, too bad it was only mediocre, at best.