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The First Wives Club | Movie Review

Updated: Nov 20, 2023



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I watched The First Wives Club last weekend. This movie is extra special to me because I know exactly when and where I first watched it. It was at my first friend sleepover about 30 years ago. We had just arrived in the Philippines and I was so happy to be invited to a sleepover by my friend, K. This basically marked the beginning of our lifelong friendship. I don't remember who chose the film, I don't even remember paying attention to it - all I know is that we had all the mattresses in one room, in front of the television, and we were busy watching, talking, and drinking coke floats. 🥳



 



I love this movie, perhaps a little extra because of its sentimental value, for many reasons! In fact, I think it's an underrated classic. It took me watching this movie a second time many years later to realize its message.


Honestly, I think I was a little bit too young to quite grasp the awesomeness of this girl power ensemble back when I first watched it. But come on, there's no denying that you can't go wrong with 3 big names such as Bette Middler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton. The chemistry sizzled! 🔥 Each character brings you so much to the story and somehow they each stand out on their own, but also make such a fantastic trio. Oh and let's not forget Maggie Smith, Stockard Channing, and Eileen Heckart!



 




The First Wives Club is a great comedy movie about 3 middle-aged women who were once college friends, but somehow lost touch with one another. They reunited many years later sadly due to the death of their college friend Cynthia. The 3 friends, Elise Elliot, Brenda Cushman, and Annie Paradis realize that they have one thing in common - their husbands have left them for younger women. The angry wives, who were the ones who got their husbands where they are today, are upset and set out a plan to get revenge on their exes.


Now that I'm older, I hate the label "the angry women" because it's not just anger that's on the line. It's sad. And a bit dark too. It's feeling alone in a room full of people. It's standing on your two legs, but being stuck in place. It's wanting to shout, but no voice is coming out.


The truth is, it's a relatable story and perhaps that's its weakness. And perhaps it's why this movie is not as celebrated as I thought it deserved to be. Because in some ways, we don't want to face the truth. That this could happen to anyone of us. Giving the best years of your life for a man who leaves you for another woman's bright years sadly isn't a thing of the past. I'm not saying that all men are the same - that goes without saying - but it happens more often than not.


This always brings me back to the way I think of relationships. Before anything else, I go first. Because before being a mother, I am a wife. And before being a wife, I am me. And as selfish as it might sound, I come first. I have to. I am me and that's who I am. I love my husband and my daughter, but I also have to love me first.



 




There's also a great lesson about friendship in this movie. No man or woman is an island. You can't expect to do it all on your own and there is nothing wrong about sharing one's feelings. The healing process does not have to be done alone. It was only when the first wives started talking about what was really going on in their life, no bullshit, that they realized they were essentially going through the same thing.


Being friends means talking about these life events. But it's also always telling it like it is.

That's what a real friendship is to me - the good and the not-so good. Complimenting a friend, but also telling her / him to face the facts if necessary. It's knowing each other so well that they don't let you get away with anything because they know you too well. And I wholeheartedly believe this to be something we all need in our lives. Alone these women were wilting and as soon as they got together, they started blooming again.



 


Some might label this movie as a little sexist, with a one-dimensional view of men and women. But if you take this film for what it is, you'll enjoy it. The strong ensemble is reason enough and worth watching. Taking revenge seems like the obvious message of the movie, but if you peel that first layer, you realize that there's more to it. There's more to life than getting even.


xoxo Elodie



P.S. As much as I love this movie, there is one little negative point about it and that's Stephen Collins. Obviously, we didn't know about his wrongful doings then, but knowing what we know now, it does leave a bitter taste.



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