Dave White
A Good Woman Review

Dave's Rating:


It's boring.

Who's in It: Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Milena Vukotic, Stephen Campbell Moore, Tom Wilkinson

The Basics: Oscar Wilde's first hit play, Lady Windemere's Fan, gets a reworking in time, place, character and dialogue. A romantic comedy about lazy rich people on holiday in Italy in the 1930s, it stars Helen Hunt as a gold-digging woman "of a certain age" who's stalking a young married couple — for third-act catharsis reasons you can see coming — and causing snippy, gossipy society people to make snippy, gossipy comments.

What's the Deal? This kind of movie is as easy to predict and as comforting as a slasher movie. You know going in what to expect. In this case, it's great cinematography, beautiful locations, neutered sexual tensions and pretty period costumes. You don't need it to have much more than that to enjoy yourself if you're already a fan of the genre. So when the B-grade bon mots start flying, it's the moral equivalent of a relatively gory but unspectacular beheading from a serial killer. You're getting what you paid for.

For Everyone Else: It's boring. If this sort of thing doesn't automatically get you off, then steer clear. It's got nothing to offer beyond exactly what you think it offers, except Johansson giving pouty lip.

Sometimes the Good Old Days Really Were: The play was adapted for movies twice before. Ernst Lubitsch made a silent version in 1925, and Otto Preminger did it again in 1949's The Fan.

Dumb Moves:
1. Hiring Helen Hunt to be a vampy anything.
2. Trying to make it more "Oscar Wilde-y" by adding new snappy dialogue.
3. Not just going ahead and calling it Lady Windemere's Fan. The word "lady" this or that in anything is like catnip to the old people you want to come buy a senior-discount ticket. Don't make your demographic have to come looking for you.


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