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Parents' Guide to

The Women (2008)

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Imperfect remake doesn't live up to the original.

Movie PG-13 2008 114 minutes
The Women (2008) Poster Image

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A remake of George Cukor's 1939 film (based on Claire Luce Booth's play), THE WOMEN does its target gender a disservice by shooting for the moon and landing with a thud. Except for a handful of zingers, the dialogue is short on spark, and despite an impressive cast, it's woefully lightweight and lacking the original's verve. You can sense that director Diane English is straining to make a grand statement about the place of women in this hectic, pressured, beauty-obsessed, desperate, and overscheduled world. But she does so by taking shortcuts, slotting her leads in flimsy, stereotypical roles: the Earth mother (complete with flowing outfits), the workaholic, the superwoman, the lesbian, the temptress. Modern women are far more complex than this. Must every movie with a big female cast play like a Sex in the City retread?

And yet, for all its failings, The Women isn't a terrible way to spend two hours. The women are likable enough, the story sympathetic enough. There's plenty of eye candy, too; theirs is the New York of chick-lit novels, filled with shopping escapades -- at Saks, primarily -- and great clothes and pretty hair. And there's a message in there somewhere as well: When Meg/Mary says "I've spent all my life being something to somebody, and somebody's always disappointed," it resonates. After the clunky first third, the movie starts to find its footing. But even though English may have intended to cook up a gourmet meal with The Women, in the end it "satisfies" more like junk food.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 12, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: December 19, 2008
  • Cast: Annette Bening , Debra Messing , Meg Ryan
  • Director: Diane English
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Picturehouse
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 114 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sex-related material, language, some drug use and brief smoking.
  • Last updated: September 2, 2022

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