A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some of the women are gossipy, selfish, back-stabbing, and seem to enjoy their "friends" being hurt. This behavior is meant to get laughs. Most misconduct is shown to have consequences. African-American women are depicted only as servants.
Violence & Scariness
Two dogs growl and bare teeth at each other in opening scene.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Philandering husband is referred to as "stepping out" on wife; woman seen in bubble bath, no nudity.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many of the female characters smoke cigarettes throughout the movie; this was common in 1939. Champagne consumed in moderation within a few scenes, whiskey in one other.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this old-fashioned comedy will be appreciated most by filmgoers who delight in the culture, charm, and artistry of old movies. It will not be of interest to most younger kids. Divorce is a core plot device and a young child is shown terribly upset at the prospect of her parents separating. As was typical in 1939, the few visible African-American women are portrayed only as servants. With one exception (a self-professed "old maid writer"), the women at the center of the story have neither careers nor involvement in any activities other than gossiping, shopping, visiting beauty salons, and witty repartee. They're either wealthy, indulged, and defined by their husbands, or they're predators, on the lookout for rich men to marry. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With great dialogue and broad, acid-tongued characters, this film is funny, sophisticated, and delightful to watch. THE WOMEN was a ground-breaking movie in 1939. It's about women, written by women, with an all-female cast (not a single man appears on-screen). The movie takes a brash look at the lives and manners of a group of gossipy, catty "friends" in New York City. They're rich; they're self-centered. Some are social-climbers; some are saintly. Its simple plot is accompanied by a number of fully drawn set pieces evoking the world of the very rich in 1939: the beauty salon, the exercise studio, department store fitting rooms and, though the rest of the movie is in beautiful black-and-white, a lengthy fashion show in bright Technicolor that dazzles with the fabulous costumes of the day.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.