8 Women


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

8 Women
"This is more of a dunwhat than a dunit."

Imagine a house in the country, blocked by snow, with the telephone wires cut and a man upstairs with a knife between his shoulder-blades. Inside the house, flaffing about, are his wife, mother, sister-in-law, two daughters, maid and cook. His sister turns up later. That's eight - all women, all suspects.

Does the name Agatha come to mind? Possibly, but this is France. Also, the ladies burst into song every so often for no particular reason.

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This is more of a dunwhat than a dunit. You don't care who killed the guy. Writer/director Francois Ozon's style is elegant camp, with a soupcon of risqué and a wardrobe of frocks.

It's all about sex... non!!! The wife's having it off with... sshhh! The sister-in-law is addicted to mushy romance novels... urrghhh! One daughter's preggers... oops! The other has a crush on her dad... creeeepy! The maid is her boss's bit of fluff... ooh la la!! The cook's a lesbian, the sister bends both ways and the mother's too pissed to notice.

What else? They squabble about money - doesn't everyone? They fight - ditto. They are bitchy with each other and, during one heated argument, the mother is bonked on the head and stuffed into a cupboard. She's 80 if she's a day. Nice people.

In the true tradition of drawing room comedy/drama/pastiche, the cast is star-studded. Having names to peg characters on makes the audience forget that there is a murderess in their midst.

Catherine Deneuve (wife) is in full regalia. Isabelle Huppert (sister-in-law) is highly strung. Emmanuelle Beart (maid) has freckles. Fanny Ardant (sister) has none. Virginie Ledoyen and Ludivine Sagnier (daughters) are bouncy and manipulative. Danielle Darrieux (mother) drinks brandy. Firmine Richard (cook) plays cards.

Who killed cock Robin? Don't be silly. This is a musical. No one gets hurt. Do they?

Let's dance.

Reviewed on: 28 Nov 2002
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8 Women packshot
Eight women, one body and a house full of lies.
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Read more 8 Women reviews:

Amber Wilkinson ****
Jennie Kermode ****

Director: Francois Ozon

Writer: Francois Ozon, Marina de Van, based on the play by Robert Thomas

Starring: Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuelle Beart, Ludivine Sagnier, Firmine Richard

Year: 2001

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


EIFF 2002

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