The First Wives Club

500 Movie Challenge: The First Wives Club

The First Wives ClubThis is one of my favorite films in the entire world. Everyone has a movie they’re able to watch over and over, and The First Wives Club is mine. It’s all about taking what’s yours in the world, and standing up for what you feel you deserve. That is porn for ambitious young women like me.

The gist: Get ready, classic movie fans. This movie stars… drumroll please… Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton. Bow down.

Okay, on to the plot. These three women are all college friends who eventually lost touch. They reconnect at the funeral of the fourth member of their crew, who killed herself on the day of her ex-husband’s remarriage. She helped build his career… and he cast her off for a younger model.

After some talk, the three remaining friends realize that they’re all in the same boat. They each supported their husbands for years just to be replaced by a younger woman. Instead of offing themselves, they vow revenge on their ungrateful husbands. Whether it be through payoffs or sheer humiliation, these ladies will have their pound of flesh.

What I “learned”: The one thing all three of these women have in common is the one thing my life coach tells me every single week. They don’t exercise proper self-care.

Why does this stay a problem for women from generation to generation? Women take care of the house, their children and their partners but often forget to take care of themselves. But as this movie shows, there are no medals for caring for everyone but you. No one’s going to take care of you unless you start doing it first. So as ugly as extortion and blackmail can be, I still root for these women because it’s all a clumsy attempt at self-care. They’re mad about not receiving their “due,” so they’re striking back at the world and demanding it. While they probably would have been better off sticking up for themselves years ago (as my coach would say), I definitely get their primal urges. Maybe that’s why this movie’s so beloved—it’s the closes thing women really have to a revenge flick.

See this movie if you like: Movies about girlfriends, a la Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. This movie’s a lot more nuanced, however. It asks why the friendship between these women faded. It lends credence to every one of the friends, giving them all strengths and weaknesses. They feel like a cohesive group. It’s easy to see why they have each others’ backs.

Another strength of the film is that there’s really no girl-on-girl hatred here. The mistresses aren’t all bad people. One of them’s actually quite sweet. They’re not shamed for being younger than the main characters—they’re just the result of the ex-husbands being jerks. The girlfriend movie principle applies even here, which is extremely rare for a movie about divorce.

Avoid this movie if: You’ve read the description and these women come off as man-haters. I would personally argue that they aren’t, only because they’ve supposedly stood by their partners for years. But if that’s your initial impression, there’s not much I’ll be able to say to change your mind. These women scheme. They’re ruthless. If you’re not on their side in the beginning, you certainly won’t be at the end. Check yourself beforehand.

 

New Films Watched: 91

Films Re-Watched: 7

Total Number of Films: 98

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