For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Movie Musicals, here’s a review of 8 Femmes (2002) by Reut of Moody Moppet
Thanks again to Audrey of 1001 Movies and Beyond for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Ghezal of Ghezal Plus Movies and she has chosen the genre of Film Noir Movies.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of July by sending them to NoirGhezal@movierob.net
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Ghezal!
Let’s see what Reut thought of this movie:
Super excited about this Genre Grandeur theme chosen by Audrey of 1001 Movies and Beyond. We are reviewing our favorite musicals. Didn’t have to put much thought into what film to choose. It was fairly obvious. Thanks for reading!
8 Femmes (2002)
Set in the 1950’s, a large Parisian mansion, 8 women find themselves in the midst of a murder mystery when the man of the house is found dead on a cold winter morning. Each woman is more eager than the other to find out the truth, and everyone is to blame until proven innocent.
The group includes the matriarch of the house Gaby (Catherine Deneuve), Her sister Augustine (Isabelle Huppert), the grandmother Mamy (Danielle Darrieux), the eldest daughter Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen), the youngest daughter Catherine (Ludivine Sagnier), the maid Louise (Emmanuelle Béart), the cook Madame Chanel (Firmine Richard) and the long lost sister of the murdered man Pierrette (Fanny Ardant).
Each woman is enriched with amusing traits and mannerisms unexpectedly expressed with a fun song.
From the breeding ground of film director François Ozon, 8 Femmes is a great dark comedy, overflowing with a theatrical vibe that comes across in color, music, and melodrama. Casting French cinema’s elite actresses, Ozon blends in sensuality, mistrust, greed, adultery, and homosexuality oh so perfectly and creates a most stylish mystery meshed with humor and feminine eccentricity. No actress fails in pulling off her best role, with Isabelle Huppert’s Augustine being my absolute favorite. This one knows how to stick out. She’s highly opinionated, somewhat neurotic, tachycardiac, and very much dramatic. She doesn’t play out her sensuality quite like the others do, yet always in pursuit of attention. Unlike her sister Gaby, who’s quite the impressive looking blonde that married rich, Augustine is a wormy looking tag along that lives off her sister’s wealth along with their wheelchaired mother. She’s always moving around the house restlessly looking for someone to blame for her misfortune. She’s a brilliant character, extremely funny and no doubt adds a lot of humor to the film. Her song is actually the opposite of her usual demeanor. Calm, mellow and lonely.
All women do an amazing job at employing a contributing part in a complex plot. As the film carries on, more and more secrets are revealed and new information comes to light. When a character sings her song, she’s immediately spotlighted as the others silently watching or otherwise dancing, and these are the moments when compassion, recognition, and harmony get center stage.
Celebrity-packed movies aren’t always a success and I have some in mind that quite sucked. But 8 Femmes is an exception. The fine attention to little details is very distinctive to French cinema and every character is equipped with great lyrics and wardrobe to suit her characteristics. Fanny Ardant is the lady in red, dangerous, mysterious and lustful, Virginie Ledoyen wears Barbie pink & white garment portraying purity and sweetness, Emmanuelle Béart is the seductive maid and Catherine Deneuve is the high-class dashing matron.
Inspired by the old classics, 8 Femmes adheres features of suspense and thrill. It’s sassy and a lot of fun to watch when every little detail is attended to and executed exactly as it should be. It never gets tedious to watch, especially if you’re a lover of foreign films. An ode to femininity and cinema of women, I can’t help but wonder what Almodóvar would do with a screenplay like 8 Femmes.