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In New York Citys modern whirl of fashion and publishing, Mary Haines seems to have it all until she finds out that her husband is cheating on her with the perfume girl from Saks Fifth Avenue. Now all hell breaks loose as Mary contemplates the fate of her marriage and her circle of tight-knit friends question their own friendships and relationships.
For more about The Women and the The Women Blu-ray release, see the The Women Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on December 31, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Director: Diane English
Writer: Diane English
Starring: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Candice Bergen
» See full cast & crew
The Women Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, December 31, 2008
I knew shortly after I started The Women, this was not my grandmothers 1939 version of "The Women". However, I didn't think this film was as bad as some film critics made it out to be. One of the most interesting aspects of the critic's opinions is that women critics were harsher on this film than men, with the men generally finding it entertaining (some did hate it though), and women finding it muttled, poorly done, and in some cases, an unmitigated disaster. I personally found this kind of criticism caustically harsh, and not quite my impression of this film. Lets be serious here, if you were comparing this movie to the original or the better made "Sex in the City", this movie is only average at best. However standing on its own, this movie is not half bad, certainly entertaining, and intermittently funny (the baby delivery had me laughing out loud). It does have some pacing issues, a bit of shallowness in the dialog area, and is shot like a made for television movie. Whatever the former offers, the latter cancels out.
After reading about how Clare Boothe Luce got her Broadway play to the big screen, I wonder how she would feel about this current adaptation of her work. It certainly lacks the bite, wit, and finesse of her play and film, but it does attempt to maintain spirit of her original creation. Where the two films seriously depart is the original portrays Mary Haines as an innocent puppy in the throws of vicious adult dogs, and the current version that even old dogs can learn new tricks, like allegiance to your friends. This effectively declaws the latter, and tames it down to a kitten in comparison to the original. It doesn't even have the bite of Sex in the City, and certainly lacks its cleverness as well. The standout actresses here are Annette Bening, who actually registers a decent performance with some pretty weak material. Jada Pinkett Smith was also quite good if not hilarious at times. Candice Bergen in my opinion can do no wrong, as she is excellent as Mary's mother. The losers here, Meg Ryan who character was so weak and mediocre as Mary Haines, her performance was basically forgettable, as was Debra Messing's character. Bette Midler also suffered a bit, but not from what she did, but how her part was written. Eva Mendes was so hot and fine she could have just pranced around, and I would have been satisfied. The plot for this movie is relatively simple, and there is a reference to guide by, so I am a little puzzled as to why English would attempt to add unnecessary references that just do not advance the story line one bit. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should especially if it only served to confuse and bewilder the viewer. With the level of female talent here, this movie should have been a slam dunk success. But this just proves you recruit the best talent all day, and all night, but if you don't give them quality material to work with, even they can't turn a sows ear into a silk purse.
Our story revolves around the lives of four female friends, Mary Haines (Meg Ryan), a clothes designer married to a wealthy fancier, and has an 11 year old daughter Molly (India Ennenga). Sylvie Fowler (Annette Bening), a prominent fashion magazine editor, single, and struggling for her job. Edie Cohen (Debra Messing), an ever pregnant mother and housewife, and author Alex Fisher (Jada Pinkett Smith) an unabashed lesbian who has no problem speaking her mind. During a trip to Saks to get a manicure, Sylvie finds out from the manicurist that Mary husband is cheating with the perfume saleswomen Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes). Unable to tell Mary, Sylvie confides with Edie on what she learns, and tells Edie to tell no one. Edie, who cannot hold water, tells Alex who wants to tell Mary right away. The three cannot find a way to tell her, until Alex spills the beans. At the advice of her mother (Candice Bergen), Mary decides at first to ignore what is happening, and attempts to remove herself from her husband's presence to give her some space to get over her anger. She decides to kick her husband out, divorce him, and move on with her life. She later discovers she loves him, and doesn't want to leave him after all. At the advice of Sylvie, Mary decides revenge is better than leaving, and the four set out to get just that.
The Women Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Women catwalks onto the Bluray format with a 1080p/VC-1 encode framed at a theatrical 1:85:1 aspect ratio. The picture quality on this release is as bland as unseasoned food. The source appears quite clean, with film grain quite evident. Blacks are not as dark as they should be, and contrast is overly hot in the midrange giving images a flat, uninvolving look. Colors are as flat, under saturated, and lack punch and pop. Flesh tones are close, but no cigar for sure. Details are pretty good, as we can see facial lines, strands of hair, and background objects pretty well. There is also some small instances of edge enhancement and shimmering as well. To size it up, this transfer is just plain ugly as heck to these eyes.
The Women Blu-ray, Audio Quality
New Line/Warner offers just a single boring audio choice, giving us a lossy Dolby Digital encoded at a 640kbps data rate. Now to be fair, this movie does not thrill us with its sound design, as it could be hardly called "sound design" without a smirk. The surrounds are for intended purposes silent for most of the film, as they only present a low level spill over of music and ambience derived from the front channel. There is very little LFE, and it never goes under 50 Hz according to my RTA's. There is no dynamic range to speak of, so the audio is as flat as the overall picture quality is. Dialog is the highlight of this film, and it is clean, clear, and well recorded. There were plenty of opportunities to support each scene with an ambient enhancement, but there was no such effort here. This soundtrack does not earn an around the world and back snap from this reviewer, its just plain boring and uninvolving.
The Women Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Propping up the low budget feel of this release is a miserable set of extras, featured in both HD and SD resolutions.
Featurette: The Women, The Legacy (HD-18 minutes) is a one on one with Director and Producer Diane English, vacillating between the original, and remake of this film.
Featurette: Behind the Women (HD- 19 minutes) is a straight forward by the numbers making of documentary featuring English, and quite a few members of the cast. It was more like a mouthpiece for women issues, than it was about the movie itself.
Deleted Scenes (SD-6 minutes) features a couple of deleted scenes presented in standard definition video.
The Women Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
"The Women" is not a bad movie, but it is not great either. It does entertain, but it does not rise anywhere near the excellence of the original, or the comparable Sex in the City. This movie is a hit a miss, as it will be fairly good to some, and quite frankly hated by others. I would rent the movie first before deciding to buy, as it will not appeal to all. It has fine talent, but they don't have much to work with. Combined with mediocre if not ugly images, and a flat uninvolving sound track, I just cannot recommend this as a blind buy for fear a lynch mob would be at my door with pitchforks, shovels, and torches in hand.
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The Women Blu-ray, News and Updates
• House Bunny Moves Forward; The Women Pushed Back - November 19, 2008
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that the upcoming Blu-ray release of the Anna Faris comedy 'The House Bunny' has been pushed up to a December 19th release date. Those of you staring at your calendars will take note, this is a rare Friday release ...
• Details Released for The Women Blu-ray - October 24, 2008
New Line Home Entertainment in conjunction with Warner Home Video have announced the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'The Women', which is due to hit store shelves on December 23rd, day-and-date with the DVD release. Video ...
• The Women Announced for Blu-ray Release - October 21, 2008
New Line Home Entertainment in conjunction with Warner Home Video has announced that they will bring the Meg Ryan and Bette Midler film 'The Women' to Blu-ray on December 24th, day-and-date with the DVD release. No technical specs have been announced at this time, ...
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