Mark Reviews Movies

8 WOMEN

2 ½ Stars (out of 4)

Director: François Ozon

Cast: Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier, Firmine Richard, Dominique Lamure

MPAA Rating: R (for some sexual content)

Running Time: 1:53

Release Date: 9/20/02


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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

Director François Ozon’s 8 Women combines satire, comedy, human drama, murder mystery, and musical into a theatrically performed and staged showcase for its cast and production crew. I’m not surprised to learn that it was originally a play. The musical numbers are what ultimately undo the movie. With choreography that reminds me of a bad high school production, they are repetitive, superfluous, and interrupt the flow and impact of everything that happens in between them. The plot places eight women in a home where the master of the house has been murdered in the night. All of them have motive and opportunity. The setup is pure farce, and each new melodramatic turn is hilarious (The phone cord’s been cut!  The car’s been tampered with!  The gate’s locked!  The murderer is in the house, and we’re all trapped!). Then as each of the characters’ secrets come to light, the movie becomes alternately poignant as well. It all leads to an incredibly affecting revelation and final action. But just when everything starts to really work, there’s another musical number, and the effect is ruined. The cast is pitch perfect in the non-musical moments, but once the songs start, they seem awkward and uncomfortable, as though they have no motivation for singing and dancing to the camera or with their fellow cast. The art direction is wonderful, with bright primary colors adorning the walls, and Ozon and cinematographer Jeanne Lapoirie’s minimal camera work adds to the theatrical feel of the movie. Sometimes, though, a play should remain on stage where it belongs.

Copyright © 2003 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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