Sunday, June 01, 2008

Movie review: 8 Women

It took me a couple of tries on this. I first got it because one of the stars is the uberlovely Emmanuelle Beart.

It's in French, so subtitled viewing is a must, unless you're fluent. I'm lucky to catch a few recognizable words.

I was taken aback at first, not realizing that this is a musical. It might be French cinema - which I'm completely unfamiliar with - but it just seemed jarring.

It's not clear exactly when the story is set...maybe the 50's or 60's. A young woman returns from college for the Christmas holiday. After greeting her very dysfunctional family, it's discovered that Papa - the only man in the household - is dead. Stabbed in the back. The family are snowed in and the phone lines have been cut. So the murderer must be among them - but who?

Could it be the young college student, herself? Perhaps Mama, who's been having some marital trouble? The maid? The cook? Papa's estranged sister? The stingy mother-in-law? The bitter, greedy sister-in-law? The fifteen-year-old younger sister?

The story brings together three generations and several social status' of women and lets them carp, accuse and reveal.

Although it took more than one viewing to understand the rhythm of the movie, it was definitely worth it. Look for an ending that I, for one, didn't see coming at all.

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