Monday, September 12, 2011

Film | The Women vs The Women

When I seen Pussy Goes Grrr's Juxtaposition blogathon, I had a great idea to talk about The Women (1939) vs The Women (2008). And so here is my contribution to the blogathon...

juxtaposition [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn] noun act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

1939 is known as the best year in Hollywood's history. There were more classic, timeless movies made that in that year than any other. Films like Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz, but of the films made that year The Women is probably one only Classic Hollywood fans would appreciate for it greatness. We are talking about a film starring greats like Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, and Paulette Goddard, how could it not be on any classic film lover's favorite list?

Fast-forward 69 years to the year 2008 and we see the release of an updated version of The Women. This time we have modern stars such as Meg Ryan, Annette Benning, and Eva Mendes trying to fill those really big shoes. We even get a star-studded supporting cast with the likes of Debra Messing, Bette Midler, Jada Smith, Candice Bergen and many others. Now this seems like a film that could possibly stand up against the much beloved original... right? Sadly, no.

Now, with that said, the newer film already had one notch against it... it really had to go beyond your typical modern comedy/drama and capture the heart of the original. The acting had to be superb and the story line had to be updated, but not messed with too much. And on both points, this film fell flat. The translation into a modern women's picture just did not work. It seemed to be a watered down version of Sex and the City. The problem being the story fit fine with the rules of society of 1939... not so much 2008.

The original film's main focus was Norma Shearer's character (Mary Haines), but, with that said, all of the other WOMEN had their own plot lines and a purpose to the story. The 2008 film seemed to focus too much on Mary Haines' (Meg Ryan) friendship with Sylvie Fowler (Annete Benning), which left the other players with no time to build their characters. Honestly, most of them could have been cut from the film without anyone noticing.

I was happy to see a few things from the original make their way into the remake. 

► You don't see any men, but hear quite abit about them.

► There is the blabbering nail stylist (Debi Mazar) who reveals all of the Haines drama while painting everyone's nails with the new Jungle Red polish

► We have the opening scene with the two dogs fighting outside of the salon

► My favorite part from the original was thrown in with the above... the part where Joan Crawford says "There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel"

Yes, I am done dragging The Women (2008) through the mud. I wouldn't call this a bad film, not at all, but I would call it a bad remake. Maybe if I hadn't seen the original, it would have been more enjoyable for me. After seeing this, I have more respect for the old saying "don't fix what isn't broken."

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