The grande dames of Hollywood, Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton, star in The First Wives Club. With divorce in the United States running at 50% or more of all marriages, the fate of the women in this film is not unlikely. What they perpetuate after each of their marriages fail is.
The three were college girlfriends along with another woman, Cynthia Swann Griffin, who is so convincingly played by Stockard Channing in about two minutes of screen time, that the memory of her is indelibly imprinted on our minds just as it is for our three heroines, shocked by her death. The three reunited friends find they all have in common husbands who left each of them for younger women.
Elise (Goldie Hawn) is an award-winning actress with a drinking problem rivaled only by her need for plastic surgery. Annie (Diane Keaton) is separated from her husband, a self-involved businessman and philanderer. Brenda (Bette Midler) has a husband who is going through his second adolescence with younger Shelly (Sarah Jessica Parker) accompanying him. Grieving over the loss of their friend, they decide to join forces to get even with their ex’s. I really like the camaraderie between Annie, Elise, and Brenda, and how they help each other grow. Three heads are better than one.
I find it ironic and very sad that Olivia Goldsmith, the author of The First Wives Club (the book upon which the screenplay was based), died from complications of anesthesia during plastic surgery (I believe she was having liposuction underneath her chin). Is that the risk modern day women will have to take to stay appealing to men? Every woman I’ve talked to who’s seen this film loves it because even if they weren’t dumped for another woman, they know men who are like these husbands, and also know firsthand the attitude our culture perpetuates about youth and beauty which is so detrimental to women’s self-esteem. I recommend you see this film with your closest female friends. This is a very funny movie (rated PG), one that women will relate to, and during which men should be embarrassed as it shows the men here as completely pathetic creatures.
The outcome of The First Wives Club is so satisfying, and the actors’ performances really shine through the witty dialogue and physical comedy. It’s really a film classic for all time. Who hasn’t dreamed of getting even? Here is your chance to live vicariously through the antics of Annie, Elise, and Brenda, along with the help of a gay decorator (Bronson Pinchot), and socialite (Maggie Smith). The film also stars Marcia Gay Harden, Dan Hedaya, Victor Garber, and Elizabeth Berkley among others, and won the National Board of Review award for Best Acting by an Ensemble that year. Sarah Jessica Parker is svelte and beautiful in this pre-Sex and the City role, and Heather Locklear true to form as the woman who helped send Cynthia over the edge. Don’t give up-Get Even!