All AMC Shows
Movies on AMC
The First Wives Club (1996)
The First Wives Club is a 1996 comedy film, based on the best-selling 1992 novel of the same name by Olivia Goldsmith. Narrated by Diane Keaton, it stars Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler as three divorced women who seek revenge on their ex-husbands who left them for younger women. Stephen Collins, Victor Garber and Dan Hedaya co-star as the husbands, and Sarah Jessica Parker, Marcia Gay Harden and Elizabeth Berkley as their lovers, with Maggie Smith, Bronson Pinchot and Stockard Channing also starring. Scott Rudin produced and Hugh Wilson directed; the film was distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film became a surprise box-office hit following its North American release, eventually grossing $181,490,000 worldwide, mostly from its domestic run, despite receiving mediocre reviews. Developing a cult following among middle-aged women, the actresses' highest-grossing project of the decade helped revitalize their careers in film and television. Composer Marc Shaiman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, while Hawn was awarded a Blockbuster Entertainment Award and both Midler and Parker received Satellite Award nominations for their portrayals.
Rambling through its first 30 minutes with no real direction, The First Wives Club eventually turns into a story about three old friends who want to exact vengeance on their wayward ex-husbands. Elise (Hawn) is an aging movie star, obsessed, as most aging movie stars are, about her looks. Brenda (Midler) is a bitter ex-housewife who loves her son and bemoans her lack of funds to support him -- and hasn't changed her hair since 1969. Annie (Keaton) is basically a middle-aged version of Annie Hall, only now she has a lesbian daughter and an intrusive mother, and Woody Allen is nowhere to be seen.
The most visible of the ex-husbands is Brenda's estranged hubby Morty (Dan Hedaya), an electronics kingpin who has moved on to the greener pastures of Shelly (Sarah Jessica Parker). He becomes the centerpiece of an intricate scam the women put together to basically drive the three husbands to madness, ruin, and poverty.
Hey! It's a comedy!
I must admit, that for all its middle-aged woman-bent humor, The First Wives Club still managed to be amusing to this 25 year-old man, mainly due to some really fine acting, good jokes, and a fresh story. Keaton is the best, as usual, and Hawn also does a fine job. Desperately trying to steal the show (and ending up as the only wife who I didn't really care about) is Midler. But when was the last time Midler played a character who wasn't an overbearing loudmouth?
It's also a manipulative little film -- pulling those heart strings about as hard as you can without jumping out of the comedy genre. There are loads of cameos -- the only person they forgot was Charles Nelson Reilly. Basically, everything works to give Wives a sitcom feel (I wouldn't be surprised if they adapted it next season...). Just to seal the issue, they even put Bronson Pinchot in a supporting role. (Ironic fact: almost everyone behind the scenes of the film (including the director, screenwriter, and producer) is male.)
Parting words of advice: Guys, prepare yourselves to be dragged to the movie theater by your wife or girlfriend. Ladies, please don't get any bright ideas.
Rating the film is almost impossible. Here's my best cut at it:
If you're a woman:
If you're a divorcee:
If you're a bitter divorcee:
On its merits:
Run, Goldie! Run!