The Other Woman

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Other Woman Movie Poster Image
Slow-moving but mature drama looks at aftermath of affair.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Family relationships are fraught with tension and conflict, and issues that have been dormant for years can suddenly reappear. People are often careless with each other, and bad choices can have a long-lasting impact.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The three parents at the center of this drama all show poor judgment when interacting with each other, especially since there’s a child involved. A man leaves his wife for a younger woman, the new wife sometimes resents her stepson, and the ex-wife criticizes the stepmom to the child. They all act selfish and childish at times.

Violence

Parents argue in front of their child.

Sex

A married man has an affair with a colleague. They're shown kissing in bed without their shirts on (but breasts are not visible).

Language

Some strong language, sometimes spoken in front of a child. Words include "f--k," "s--t," “sucks,” “goddammit,” and “bulls--t."

Consumerism

References to eBay, Tofutti, Fairway Market, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, The Lion King, and many New York private schools.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult colleagues drink champagne and wine at a work event. A man drinks beer while relaxing at home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this family drama is earnest and well-meaning, the story about a man who leaves his wife for another woman (Natalie Portman) and then tries to create a family with his son and the new wife after tragedy strikes isn't age appropriate for tweens or younger teens. It addresses subjects -- including miscarriage, infidelity, and animosity between a stepparent and her stepchild -- that are too heavy for younger viewers. There are also a few sexual situations (though no nudity), plus swearing (sometimes in front of a child) and drinking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykhan2705 May 29, 2011

well above average drama.

2.5/5 Natalie Portman (BLACK SWAN, STAR WARS) lights up the screen in this frank, funny, and heart-wrenching adaptation of bestselling author Ayelet Waldman... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 2, 2012

Nice but very sad movie

I watched this movie a few months back. My parents left me and my older cousin alone in the house and my older cousin suggested we watch this movie. My 18 year... Continue reading

What's the story?

Navigating her marriage to Jack (Scott Cohen) isn't going well for Emilia (Natalie Portman), the heroine of this drama based on Ayelet Waldman's novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. His ex-wife, Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow), is bitter; his young son, William (Charlie Tahan), is distrustful and reluctant. Perhaps William blames Emilia for the end of his parents' marriage, or maybe he just doesn't like her. But Emilia is conflicted, too, unsure of how to mother the boy, especially since she and Jack lost their own newborn. Can she grieve her baby's death and move on in time to salvage her relationship with William and Jack?

Is it any good?

For a drama that deals with such weighty issues, THE OTHER WOMAN is woefully inert (it sometimes feels like it crawled, rather than leapt, off of Waldman's pages and onto the screen). One moment is barely differentiated from the next, never mind how tragic or terrible or poignant what's happening might be. The dialogue describes rather than illuminates, loose ends are tied up with little build-up, and the storytelling doesn’t surprise (when eBay becomes a dramatic device, you know a movie’s reaching).

It’s a waste of a good cast, really, and not just Portman. Though she and Cohen have little chemistry, he’s in perfectly good form, as are Kudrow and Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose, who ought to have been given something meatier to work with. All of that said, the film does have some interesting moments, especially one in particular, when Emilia’s pain is leavened by an unexpected source; in Portman's hands, the scene feels palpable and true. It’s apparent that the filmmakers meant to create something of substance. That’s worth something -- though ultimately not enough.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays relationships -- both romantic and familial. Do the characters and the way they interact with each other seem realistic?

  • Are the adults in this movie presented as positive role models? Are they successful parents? Why or why not?

  • What messages does the movie send about infidelity?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate