The Stepford Wives

500 Movie Challenge: The Stepford Wives

The Stepford WivesI’m going to spoil The Stepford Wives for you in this review. I’m going to, because it’s been over a decade since this movie hit theaters. Most of you people reading this thing know the movie’s twist. In fact, I’m convinced that that’s why most people watch this movie. Because the twist is so surreal and weird that you can’t not watch it go down.

So yeah, I’m going to spoil it. You don’t like it, yell at me on Twitter. I don’t give a sh*t.

The gist: We open with a presentation at a television tech conference, where Joanna (played by a super-cool Nicole Kidman) is giving a speech about her awesome new lineup of reality shows. But a former male contestant of a sex-themed show tries to assassinate her, which leads to the network canceling her lineup and firing Joanna. Cue midlife crisis.

In an attempt to “start over,” Joanna and her family move to ultra-secluded Stepford, Connecticut. The houses are enormous, everyone is friendly, and there are fun events going on all the time. But Joanna and her new Connecticut friends (including Bette Davis as the hippie writer friend you’ve always wanted) are more than a little weirded out by it all. Why is everything so perfect? Why do the women do everything the men tell them to do? What goes on in the male-only clubhouse up the road?

Eventually, the awful truth emerges: The women living in Stanford are all androids. And they’re looking to convert Joanna and the crew next.

What I “learned”: There are some wicked bombs dropped in this movie, and I could say so much about the feminist truths it lays out. But Roger Ebert said it best: This movie could have been ultra-serious or funny in its message. It chose to be funny, which was probably the right way to go.

Much like Anchorman, this movie takes on ultra-serious feminist issues through the medium of humor. And honestly, if a friend asked me what feminism was I’d probably show them this movie before a biopic of Simone de Beauvoir. It’s not a matter of being disrespectful to feminism itself; it’s about bridging the gap without being condescending to anyone. This is how you talk about an ideology without being called a misandrist or looney.

See this movie if you like: Movies that are expensive and stylized to the point of ridiculousness. This movie goes out of its way to set itself in gorgeous TV network offices, enormous houses with Better Homes and Gardens decor, and enough Americana touches to make Samuel Westing shed a tear. It’s so camp that you can’t help but love it. It also does wonders for making us feel like Joanna must be the only sane one in this getup.

Avoid this movie if: You’re looking for a purely science fiction film. Sure, there’s robots and high tech in this movie, but that’s really not the point. It’s about having an honest discussion about what people expect each other to be. It’s purposefully restrained, with the characters emphasized above the tech.

 

New Films Watched: 83

Films Re-Watched: 4

Total Number of Films: 87

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