I left the cinema feeling as if I’d been to an Al-Anon meeting and that instead of banishing the alcoholic from my life, I’d learned new ways to accept selfish behavior from those I enabled.

Several movies are released each year with all male casts and no one bats an eye. From war films to sports films to toilet humor films we are bombarded with all male casts, not to mention the many male protagonists that make their way to the big screen week after week.

So when the oddity of an all female cast appears, we find that sadly the focus of their thoughts is, ouch, men. That said, and considering that director Diane English (Murphy Brown) is better known as a writer than as a director, The Women has some worthy moments.

A remake of a 1939 film by the same name staring Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford, The Women is based on a play by Clare Boothe Luce and tells the story of wealthy stay-at-home mom Mary Haines (Meg Ryan) who discovers from a gossipy manicurist that her husband is having an affair with a sexy, young perfumist.

But Mary’s best friend, Sylvie Fowler (Annette Bening) has already found out and told everyone. Nevertheless Mary takes the news with a hefty grain of salt and listens to her mother Catherine (Candace Bergin) who admits that Mary’s father did the same thing a long time ago and that Mary should get out of town for a couple of weeks and pretend to have fun.

In a way, it works. But the message, at least from Mary’s mother, is that whether you do or whether you don’t, your husband will have affairs, so get used to it. Grim perhaps for a comedy, but great comedy contains sadness.

Release Date: September 12, 2008.
Genre: Comedy/Drama.
Rating: PG 13.
Runtime: 1hr. 54min.
Cast: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Candace Bergin.
Director: Diane English.
Stars: 3.

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