Monday, January 05, 2009
Movie: The Women (2008)
After ACT Theater put on a really good production of The Women here in Seattle recently I was kind of excited to see the updated movie version by Diane English (creator of Murphy Brown). Rented it tonight. Was vaguely amused but underwhelmed. The best moment was watching Meg Ryan eat a stick of butter dipped in cocoa and sugar while talking about how she could suck the nails out of a board. And as much as I disliked how the character of Sylvie had been changed, I thought Annette Bening did a good job with what she'd been given.
Read some reviews on IMDB and otherwise after watching the movie and nobody has much good to say about this movie. I concur. After reading comments I was glad I wasn't a diehard fan of the 1939 George Cukor-directed version or I probably would have been really pissed off too! The newer film has moments, but the whole thing is rather unwieldy. (And poor Meg Ryan. I don't know what she did to her face, but her mouth isn't quite right anymore. Also her hair was pretty intense.) I watched the featurette and learned that English had been working on this project since 1995 and had gone through many, many versions of the script. Since she also served as the director and producer, perhaps it was a case of being too close to a project. Sometimes that can work for you and other times you don't see things objectively enough. I appreciated what she was trying to do, but perhaps it would have worked better in a different setting. The New York backdrop made it feel too much like it was trying to be Sex and the City. Actually, another movie that came to mind was Robert Altman's Dr. T and the Women. It may have been a muddled mess too, but it had more pertinent observations about women of a certain social caliber than this remake of The Women.