HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
Shaft
Summer Lovers
   
 
Newest Articles
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
   
 
  8 Femmes Who Didn't Dunnit?Buy this film here.
Year: 2002
Director: François Ozon
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Danielle Darrieux, Ludivine Sagnier, Firmine Richard
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: The time is the nineteen-fifties, the place a French country mansion that is quickly being cut off by the snowfall. Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen) arrives in the morning for the Christmas family gathering and greets her grandmother (Danielle Darrieux); the cook, Chanel (Firmine Richard) is also delighted to see her. Suzon’s aloof mother Gaby (Catherine Deneuve) is next to arrive in the living room, followed by her eccentric aunt Augustine (Isabelle Huppert). Suzon’s teenage sister Catherine (Ludivine Sagnier) has just got up, and their father Marcel is still sleeping and not to be disturbed. The new maid, Louise (Emmanuelle Béart) goes upstairs to his room to check on him, and the ladies downstairs are startled to hear her scream – she emerges from the room looking shocked, saying Marcel is lying in bed with a knife between his shoulder blades. He has been murdered…

Scripted by the director François Ozon from the play by Robert Thomas, 8 Femmes resembles an Agatha Christie murder mystery with musical numbers added for good measure. It also resembles a filmed play, with one large set being used for most of the action, which basically involves a lot of talk as the women realise that one of those present must be the murderer, as no one else has been seen entering or leaving the house (they would have heard the dogs, which we never see, barking). Looking great in sumptuous colours and (mostly) glamorous outfits, the cast represent various generations of France’s movie acting talent, from the earliest surviving (Darrieux) to the most recent at that time (Sagnier), and much of the enjoyment of the piece comes from seeing them pitted against other, due to them having been set up by the storyline to be rivals.

We never get a good look at Marcel, despite him being the character everyone in the cast revolves around, at best we see the back of his head in flashback. It seems that not only do the ladies have a strong connection with him, but also have a good reason for bumping him off as the labyrinthine plotting grows clearer. You’ll have noticed that there are only seven women so far, and that’s because the eighth arrives half an hour in, in the shape of Marcel’s sister Pierrette (Fanny Ardant). She received an anonymous telephone call telling her that her brother had been killed, and has driven up to the house through the increasingly heavy snow to find out what was going on. But the telephone line in the house has been cut, so who could have made the call? And by the time they have worked out what she is doing there (Gaby had banned her from the house), they are effectively trapped in the place by the weather and unable to get help.

So the intrigue mounts up as the plot thickens. Financial troubles and affairs are revealed as the women have nothing to do but discuss their problems and try to work out who the killer could be. Flamboyant as they can be here, the acting styles of the cast never clash, but compliment each other, making what could have been rather repetitive – not five minutes goes by without another grand revelation – otherwise entertaining. Huppert gets the showiest role as the neurotic spinster who harboured romantic feelings for Marcel, and Ardant gets to play the vamp although she’s never seen seducing a man. There’s comedy to be enjoyed, from the over-the-top interplay to the sight of Deneuve smashing a bottle over the head of a wheelchair-bound (so she would have us believe) Darrieux and pushing her, unconscious, into the cupboard to keep her out of the way.

Then there’s the songs. Each actress is awarded their own moment in the limelight where they sing what’s on their mind, in a variety of styles. Sagnier and Ledoyen perform bouncy pop, while Ardant and Béart are given something more alluring and Deneuve and Richard get to pour their hearts out in more reflective ways. Huppert’s song, accompanied at the piano by herself, opens with a long monologue which might make you think she can’t sing and is avoiding the task, until she starts to trill. Actually, the musical aspect doesn’t add much except novelty and breaking up those acres of chit-chat, but it’s nice to hear. Any themes of class (Louise seems to bear a grudge against her employers which at first promises to be political), age or sex are danced around but never truly challenged, leaving a slightly too flimsy impression by the tragic, and too morose, finale, where what has really happened is blatantly apparent. The period setting makes 8 Femmes seem like something out of a time capsule with lesbianism and illegitimate children included, and while the cast add spice and vigour, there’s something distinctly dusty about the whole thing. Music by Krishna Levy.

Aka: 8 Women
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 11168 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: