We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
What a pleasure this movie is, showcasing actresses I've admired for a long time, all at the top of their form. Yes, they're older now, as are we all, but they look great, and know what they're doing. "The Women" is not, as it claims, "based on the play by Clare Booth Luce." The credits should read, "inspired by." Nor does the movie draw from the screenplay of the 1939 film, although it also has no males on the screen.
The film revolves around four close friends, one married with four kids, one married with one kid but being cheated on, one a high-profile professional woman, one a lesbian. Sound a little familiar? But these woman are wiser, funnier and more articulate than the "SATC" team, and their lives are not as shallow. Maybe it helps that there aren't a lot of men hanging around and chewing up screen time. There are two husbands and a boss, but we only hear this end of the telephone conversations.
The movie is a comedy, after all, and we're not looking for deep insights, but writer-director Diane English (one of the creative forces behind "Murphy Brown") focuses on story and character, and even in a movie that sometimes plays like an infomercial for Saks Fifth Avenue, we find ourselves intrigued by these women.
Meg Ryan and Annette Bening get top billing, as Mary, the wife of a Wall Street millionaire, and Sylvie, editor of a fashion magazine. They've long been best friends, but complications involving Mary's husband and Sylvie's job drive them apart. Then Sylvie, who has never been a mother, finds herself acting as one for Mary's precocious daughter Molly (India Ennenga). A scene where she gives the young girl direct, honest advice about sex is one of the best in the movie. And there's another striking scene when Mary's own mother (Candice Bergen) gives her brutally frank advice about how to deal with a cheating husband.