Thursday, July 31, 2008

First Wives Club

When I first saw this movie in the theater, I was still married and didn't become the "first wife" until much later, but I liked is as much then as I do now.

I watched this on my computer over the weekend. Obviously, it wasn't the first time and was probably closer to being the seventh or eighth or even tenth time. Yes, I like this movie and each time I watch it I find something new I like or didn't notice before. Maybe it was because I was so close to the screen this time that I paid more attention to the music and noticed someone at the party in the last scene that I'd never noticed before. I ended up downloading two songs and gasping when I recognized Gloria Steinem. I'd already recognized Ed Koch, Ivana Trump, and Kathie Lee Gifford, the first or second time I saw the movie, but somehow GS had escaped my notice.

The movie is upbeat. Although the first wives are filled with the need for revenge on their ex husbands, the humor keeps it from being dark. The character growth of these women is astounding and eventually leads them to deep friendship. The bond they'd formed in college obviously wasn't as deep as they'd thought. They'd each gone their separate ways over that period of time. That's very normal. But when the tragedy of Cynthia's suicide brings them back together, we see that those college friendships weren't nearly as strong as maybe the former classmates (and roommates?) thought they were. Brenda (played by Bette Midler) obviously has a problem with Elise (Goldie Hawn) and always has. It plays out as jealousy, but I'm not completely convinced that's all it is. In the beginning, Elise deserves a little razzing. (THOSE LIPS!!) I relate most to Annie (Diane Keaton), and anyone who knows me knows why. In the beginning, these three women had nothing in common except being or soon-to-become first wives and having once known each other. Throughout the course of the movie, we see them moving closer and closer emotionally, until, when the end comes, we know nothing will separate them, no matter whether they agree on everything or not. That's true friendship.

The husband casting was good. (I love Stephen Collins in just about anything and especially when paired with Diane Keaton--see the movie BECAUSE I SAID SO.) Getting revenge was the hook for the story, but the growth of the characters was really what it was all about. In the end, even though they went through with getting even with the exes, they used the funds for the good of many, not just themselves.

If you haven't seen it, you're missing a classic. If you have seen it, but it's been a while, watch it again. You'll feel good if you do.

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