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8 Women (8 Femmes) (2002)

  Directed by: François Ozon
Starring: Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Virginie Ledoyen, Firmine Richard, Ludivine Sagnier
Links: 8 Women on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Musical

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

8 Women (8 Femmes) (2002) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Swimming Pool (2003).

"Stylish stage play up on the big screen" - a review by pearly

8 Women is a musical murder mystery. It revolves around 8 women (weird, huh?) who become isolated in a big old house just after the murder of the man of the house. There's the mum, the two sisters, the aunt, the housekeeper, the grandmother, the chambermaid, and the victim's sister. In the beginning, the women's responses to the murder seem quite normal, but as the movie progresses, things get more and more satirical (there are more twists and turns than you can poke a stick at).

I knew before the movie started that it was a murder mystery. I didn't, however, know about the musical element, so when the first song began, I was a little taken aback. The way the film is structured is that each of the eight women sing a song at some point during the film, and this song gives the audience insight into the character in a way that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Sometimes the whole gang get involved in the song - dancing, or just watching; other times it's a more intimate affair.

8 Women is a very stylish production. Director François Ozon says:

"8 Femmes is an anti-naturalist film which focuses on stylisation and the artificial to heighten feminine beauty and glamour."

This certainly came across. It is made in such a way that you can imagine it being a stage production (in fact, the film was originally adapted from a play). The sets and the costumes create quite an atmosphere, meaning that it's difficult to tell when the story is set. In particular, the costumes worn by Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen) stand out, and her cuteness reminded me of Audrey Tautou in Amélie (2001). There are certainly more parallels between these two movies than just the fact that they're French.

Fans of older, stylised films will probably find 8 Women a joy to watch. It's definitely an escape; the musical numbers only intensifying the sense of the house being a fantasy world. Other than the music, the film is light-hearted and just aims to entertain. It's not the style of film I am particularly interested in, but nonetheless I quite enjoyed it.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 27 Feb 2003

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