2002, NR, 108 min. Directed by François Ozon. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Virginie Ledoyen, Fanny Ardant, Danielle Darrieux, Ludivine Sagnier, Firmine Richard.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Wed., Dec. 11, 2002
In the tradition of George Cukor's The Women, this French import features an all-female cast. Not only that, but it showcases several French stars from various generations, making this a movie that has something for just about everyone. It's a total delight to see this crew in action, mixing it up with each other in amost enjoyable fashion. They look like they're having fun, and, consequently, so do we. Unfortunately, the framework of the movie isn't equal to the combined talents seen onscreen. The movie is a classic whodunit in which everyone gathers in a snowstorm for the holidays, a corpse is discovered, and the rest of the movie is a roundabout of accusations, theories, and … song and dance. The mystery at hand is not a deeply complex puzzler, but when the characters break into song and dance routines, I admit to not knowing what to think. A couple of these interludes are amusing, but their continual interruptions grow tiresome rather quickly. Director Ozon has previously shown himself as a master of capturing subtle impulses and moods in Under the Sand, so this switch to broad storytelling techniques seems curious and abrupt. Since none of these actors are vocal virtuosos, the songs all have a natural, nonprofessional sound, which just adds to their peculiarity in the midst of this formulaic whodunit. Despite these misgivings, 8 Women proves to be a pleasant romp. Girls just wanna have fun -- even onscreen.