Monday, February 16, 2009

Movie Review: The Women

I just finished watching The Women. And truthfully, I didn’t like that movie. I can’t necessarily put exact wording to why it just left me feeling disgruntled, sad for the state of mankind, and with this general negative bad taste in my mouth. Then I watched the director/writer explain why she directed and wrote the movie the way she did, and I just had to shake my head in disbelief.

First of all, you hit the climax moment of the movie, the point at which the lead has to make her ultimate decision, and what line do they give? “The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘What do I want.’” And yes, it is the defining line for the entire movie – but not in the positive way the line was intended. No, that line was literally what the whole movie was about. “What do I want?” I want to do what I want, say what I want, act how I want, never mind who I throw away, hurt, or ignore in the process.

Now, granted, I’ve never seen the original movie, but it felt to me – in watching this movie – that this remake epitomized the feminist movement of today: It is all about me. And even though the end result is good, it is this attitude from the very beginning that is the ultimate problem.

I’ll admit here and now, I am becoming increasingly weary of the feminist movement as it exists today. This movement in which women are so determined that they can do it all themselves is destroying not only the beauty of being a woman but is destroying the entire structure of being a man. But I won’t go further into that rant now.

The director talked about how her intent was to show how women need to bond together, work together, to get through difficult times. And I don’t disagree with that portion of the story. I’ll admit, there were parts that were incredibly clever and moving just because they really do show snippets of how many female relationships are – both in the good and the bad ways. However, what they also did through the remake of this movie (and which was emphasized by the director) is that women no longer need men. The director talked about the necessity for balancing the movie as, in her description of the original, it was all about women if not acquiescing to their men then at least needing them in order to have a worthwhile existence. However, this version didn’t feel balanced. Instead, it felt like (again, I’m saying this without having seen the original movie) she swung the pendulum to the complete opposite side and turned it into this whole women don’t need men at all.

There was one other major thing that I really could not believe about the director’s comments. Apparently the original movie was actually a play written by a woman in the 1930s who had recently come into the New York social life and who despised the way these upper class women acted and treated each other. It was her way of poking fun at their way of life. And so while this director is discussing this, she’s also talking about how she was able to make this movie by hobnobbing with the right people, having the right relationships, and talking about how she managed to make the right connections because she has a house on Martha’s Vineyard and a lady she really needed to back her happened to have a “little cottage” there as well. i.e. She is so desirous to have her rewrite of this play produced – and she did so by using the very people and methods that the original play was written as a mockery of!

All in all, I was not impressed with the movie. Now, to be fair, I do have to say it had good moments. There was at least one woman in the movie who did emphasize how she and her husband stuck together through the messiness of an affair because they felt not only that it was what they wanted but because they loved their children and that was vital…and ultimately you get the impression that the main woman will work out her relationship with her husband. The primary woman does give a good speech about how building trust back is hard and there are a lot of issues they will have to really work out to make it work but that it can be done. And the movie did present the idea that a good marriage is worth fighting for, but even with a somewhat decent end, I felt like there was so much anti-man/woman commitment sentiment dumped into the movie, it slightly sickened me.

And yet again, a seemingly common theme in my life the last few months, I am faced with the question: What is happening to the concept of marriage? Or is just that I’ve been blind to the systematic deconstruction of marriage, and it’s been occurring for a very, very long time?


Hillery said...

Thanks for your opinion on this movie. I kind of feel bad that I recommended it! ha! But you hit the nail on the head about several of the points that I had also thought about.

I think I tried to pull a lot of the "good" out of it, like people working on their marriages and sticking to the committment. But it also made me feel slightly odd in the end, and I wouldn't watch it again.

So thank you for your very thorough and intellectual review, you put a lot into words that I could not. (And thanks for watching the directors comments, I did not do that, and it sheds a lot of light!)

Ouph said...

Yeah, I was hoping you wouldn't my bash of the movie!

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