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"8 Women"

Directed by Francois Ozon.
Written by Marina de Van and Francois Ozon.
Starring Catherine Deneuve, Virginie Ledoyen and Ludivine Sagnier.
Release Year:  2002
Review Date:  10/20/02 


Hey, I’ll catch a Frenchie film every so often, and this past weekend, I caught up with “8 Women.”  Sure, I think Emmanuelle Béart is pretty hot, but I really wanted to see this because I think Catherine Deneuve is hot!!

Okay, seriously.  “8 Women” is kind of a surprise because...


Many of you remember my trashing of the horrible, atrocious, worst-Best Picture-nominee-of-all-time “Moulin Rouge.”  However, I like musicals that are thoughtfully done and don’t give me headaches after leaving the theater, and “8 Women” fits the bill with some wacky singing sequences featuring the eight stars of the adaptation of the stage production.  The cast is great—Béart and Deneuve have crossover success on their resumes, and the film’s other stars—including Virginie Ledoyen from “The Beach” as Suzon and Fanny Ardant from “Elizabeth”—have been around the circuit as well, so one gets the sense that this is just a killer cast even if you are a casual filmgoer.  And, by adapting this film from the stage, the sets are kept very simple and the filmmakers do a great job of making the house feel bigger than it really is.  As an added bonus, this is one of the only films of the year that has a justifiably-great ending.

There really aren’t too many negatives; the murder mystery that is the heart of the story takes too long to be divulged and two of the songs just aren’t as strong as the opening number.  Being a gringo that took 10 years of French and can now barely say “My name is Justin” in the language, I was trying to follow some of the songs without looking at the subtitles but found that to be tough-going.  As such, keeping up with the lyrics while watching the song-and-dance routines was difficult and made me real sleepy by the end of the night.  It seems like every time I go to see a chatty foreign film I come within inches of falling totally dead-asleep.  Of course, I’ll take that over a bad dub job of the soundtrack, but still...there has just got to be a good middle ground for this stuff!!

“8 Women” is pretty solid, though.  And, for a film that doesn’t have any real violence, action, sex scenes or profane comedy, I was one pretty entertained guy!!

Rating:  $9.00 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09