The First Wives Club (1996) Poster

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great entertainment
theappleorchardeh20 November 2006
Although many feel that the movie fell short I think they missed the point of the movie. The movie starts showing four very different women, and flashes back 25+ years ago when they were close collage friends. Their lives have taken them in four different directions and their lives are very different from each other. The movie isn't about making fun of men, divorce, fame or fortune. Its about women friends - not casual "how are you, nice to see you again" friends - the kind of friends who know the you way down deep inside, and don't let you get away with anything because they know you too well. These women interact in a way that men will never understand, but that most women will identify with.

In the end, this movie is great entertainment. Pure and simple. No great message to deliver - just relax and enjoy it, thats what its there for!
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Silly, fun movie
jruwaldt22 December 2000
This is a silly movie with plenty of entertaining comedy. Any male-bashing in it is clearly intended in good fun, even if it's dead serious for the characters. I found absolutely nothing offensive about this film, recognizing it for the light-hearted fun it is. A lot of men ARE scum. This just isn't the sort of comedy where generalizations and stereotypes are dangerous and offensive. In contrast, I was rather frustrated by Waiting to Exhale, because I felt it was too serious in its male-bashing. The women in First Wives Club seemed clever and delightfully devious, whereas the women in Waiting to Exhale seemed to prefer to sit around discussing how evil men are and plotting bits of petty revenge that showed how superior they are, not to mention setting fire to their husbands' property. First Wives Club takes a more constructive and intelligent approach to the problem and does so with much hilarity. I don't see how anyone can be offended by something as fun as this. I also find a comparison to Birth of a Nation to be very stretched, particularly since the attitudes in First Wives Club are not as dangerous, and, as I have reiterated several times, they are not intended to be serious. Overall, I would rate this film at least a seven.
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Instructive - maybe not; hilarious - definitely!
Geofbob20 November 2001
Like Nine to Five, First Wives Club purports to be making a statement - albeit in comedy mode - about a serious feminist issue, but like that movie is simply an opportunity to portray women getting back at men who have taken advantage of them - and why not?! While the film may have little practical application to the majority of women who are "traded in" for newer models, but whose men are not as well heeled as the husbands in this film, it does provide them with 100 minutes of escapist entertainment from three great American actresses - OK Bette Midler may not be the best actress in the world but she's certainly hugely entertaining.

Midler plays one of three 60s college friends, who meet 25 years later and find that they've each been deserted - her businessman ex-hubby keeps her short of cash while buying skimpy designer dresses for his skimpy girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker). The other two in the triumvirate are Diane Keaton as a diffident door-mat, and Goldie Hawn as an alcoholic and facelifted filmstar. But this is one movie where there is no doubt about the characters undergoing an "arc" during its course, and hardly anyone emerges unaltered. Along the way, there are lots of laughs, a few tears, and an unforgettable rendition of You Don't Own Me. Elsewhere on IMDb, some ungenerous souls have used the word hysterical to describe this movie; hysterically funny is nearer the mark.
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A Completely Winning Comedy
Isaac585512 December 2005
THE FIRST WIVES CLUB is a sparkling all-star comedy that hits all the right notes and makes you want to cheer out loud while you're watching. This is the story of three former college girlfriends (Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler) who are reunited after many years due to the suicide of a mutual friend (Stockard Channing) and all learn that they have been dumped by their husbands for younger women. They bond and not only plan revenge on their husbands but take their revenge to another unexpected level that is curiously refreshing for a comedy of this type. Keaton, Hawn, and Midler are marvelous as the women out for their ex-husbands'blood. Stephen Collins, Victor Garber, and Dan Hedaya are all on the mark as the scummy ex-husbands. There are funny bits contributed along the way by Rob Reiner as Hawn's plastic surgeon, Sarah Jessica Parker as Hedaya's mistress, Maggie Smith as a wealthy divorcée, Bronson Pinchot as a faux designer, Eileen Heckart as Keaton's mother, and Marcia Gay Harden as Collins'therapist/mistress. A wonderful script is smartly mounted by director Hugh Wilson with an energetic cast to produce a terrific film comedy which can easily be watched several times and discover new pleasures on each viewing.
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When Bad Stories Happen to Good Actresses
nycritic18 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It doesn't matter that the reviews of the book version of THE FIRST WIVES CLUB were generally good. It doesn't take away from the fact that it's nothing more than a thinly disguised bad story with a potentially wicked set-up that has seen better days and which not even the good chemistry of the three main performers can save.

On learning of the death of their one-time college friend Cynthia Swann-Griffin (Stockard Channing in an all-too-brief cameo) due to the abandonment from her husband, three recently divorced women, Annie Paradis (Diane Keaton), Elise Eliott (Goldie Hawn), and Brenda Cushman (Bette Midler) come together to get back at their former husbands by essentially taking away their freedom. Sounds familiar? In 1989, Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep starred in SHE DEVIL, a bad (but compared to this trash, a classic) movie adaptation of the novel of the same name in which a middle-class wife, on being dumped by her husband for a successful romance novelist, decides to destroy her home, her family, and take away her husband's freedom by starting her own "club" for women in the same situation as she. Even farther to 1980: 9 TO 5 told a similar story about three co-workers (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton) who band together to make mincemeat of their male chauvinistic pig of a boss played by Dabney Coleman, and essentially prove to the entire office that woman make work more efficient. And even farther, to 1939, to a classic and the mother of all "desperate housewives": THE WOMEN brilliantly told the acid tale of how society women lose their husbands to social climbers, and while Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) does what no feminist would do -- go back to her unseen Stephen -- it is still a powerful tale of women, their men, and how they survive in a Darwinistic society where bitches eat bitches for lunch while playing bridge at 5 PM. And at the same time gave many of its actresses (all icons, from Joan Crawford to Paulette Goddard to Rosalind Russell to the great Lucille Watson) roles to sink their teeth in, something that has essentially gone South in the Hollywood of today.

But not to digress, even though I am talking of the same essential theme, THE FIRST WIVES CLUB should have been a much better movie than it is. All of the elements are there to make its comedy not only dark, but biting, cruel, politically incorrect (contrary to its PC nature), and not tack on the saccharine, cloying mess that pretends to be an ending. At the same time, there has to be something to like about in these three women: Annie comes across as vaguely sympathetic (a more intellectual version of Mary Haines), but her shrillness is so over-the-top and her transformation from klutz to business entrepreneur so unbelievable it's not possible to feel for her. Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn do better with what little material they've been given while still being little more than caricatures. Hawn at least does poke fun at Hollywood's treatment of actresses which may also be at her own "persona" which has (as Elise Eliott says) refused to age, but other than that, there's not much bite in her resolve to do her husband in.

Then we have the supporting characters, none which fare any better. What is Bronson Pinchot doing as (yet another) affected character stupidly named "Duarto Feliz?" (Don't writers do their research in writing about characters with Spanish names?) None of the younger women are written as little more as props, though at least Sarah Jessica Parker has a couple of lines that hint of a different version of Carrie Bradshaw. The husbands... well... they're essentially unrepentant jerks, and while in THE WOMEN they remained invisible, there was the idea that in that story they were actual people. That inexplicably, Dan Hedaya's character suddenly does an about-face at the end seems made to satisfy at least a part of the audience who would want to see at least one of the women retain their partner. And what's with Annie having a lesbian daughter if it doesn't tie into anything else in the story? That lesbians hate men and make great allies to jilted women everywhere? I didn't get it, I still don't get it, and it didn't work for me.

It just proves that a bad screenplay filled with unsympathetic characters will kill the central idea in a story, but also, that an equally bad direction with odd takes and bad editing will further the damage. Stockard Channing's death scene is so badly filmed it might as well been an afterthought from another movie that somehow found its way here. The sequence when Keaton, Midler, Hawn, and Pinchot intercept Dan Hedaya's apartment is another study in absolute ineptitude in creating comic slapstick, but then again, so is the sequence when Keaton discovers her husband wants to divorce her and in pops Marcia Gay Harden: what a lost opportunity to really make it the best moment on the screen! Didn't anyone do their homework? Does anyone recall the scene in THE WOMEN when Sylvia Fowler finds out her husband is set to marry Miriam Aarons (who is right in front of her) and then rips into her in a memorable cat-fight? That was a scene: this was a travesty. Which most of this movie is, anyway.
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Strange How Underrated This Movie Is
MoviesForAM9 December 2014
"First Wives Club" is an example of excellent movie making. The pacing, the continuity, the look of the scenes and the characterizations are all very funny and charming and entertaining. For a big budget holiday movie made to make money, it does its job and does it very well. Midler is especially excellent. So is Dan Hedaya as her ex and Dame Maggie Smith as a friend indeed. I think that the major reason that the movie is unappreciated by too many critics is because it's a "woman's picture." It's designed to be a very light comedy that brings in women and their families to generate box office. Whatever its genre, however, the movie works in every way it's intended to work. The sets are great, the costumes are perfect and the acting is really funny and also touching when it needs to be, such as when Sarah Jessica Parker says to Bette Midler, "Brenda, this outfit might look really good on you... why don't you try one on in YOUR SIZE!" Midler's fury suddenly deflates, and she exhibits pathos. Lots of funny lines and facial expressions and over-the-top emotion, and the directing was, I think, very precise and well done.
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feel-good chick-flick
didi-523 June 2009
I really like this film. Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Stockard Channing have been friends for years and all have something in common - cheating, flaky husbands. So far, so cliché.

But the 'First Wives Club' is an inspired bit of fluff, fun, perceptive, and full of high spirits. These forty-something ladies replaced by younger models aren't going to take their fate lying down, and what a hoot it is watching them set up their outfit to take fickle men to the cleaners.

OK, the film is a little sexist, with a one-dimensional view of both men and women; but it succeeds as entertainment. Some of the supporting caricatures are simply hideous, but work well. You can also spot stars of the future such as Sarah Jessica Parker in smaller roles.

If you take this film for what it is, you'll probably enjoy it. It's one of those films that you'll either love or hate - but with this calibre of cast it's worth a look.
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A pleasant surprise
jimbo-53-18651126 December 2013
I came into this film with fairly low expectations as I wasn't sure that it would be my sort of thing. However, I must admit that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.

The premise is rather simple and focuses on 3 old college friends who end up re-united due to the death of their old college friend Cynthia (Stockard Channing). The 3 college friends are Elise Elliot (Goldie Hawn), Brenda Cushman (Bette Midler) and Annie Paradis (Diane Keaton). Whilst, the circumstances surrounding their reunion are unfortunate, the 3 women use this opportunity to catch up. Whilst, it is clear that they have lived rather different lives since they left college, they find that they all have one thing in common; their husband's have left them for/cheated on them with young women. With the 3 protagonists feeling disgruntled about the way they've been treated, they decide to set up the First Wives Club and take revenge on their cheating husbands;

Whilst, the film is rather slow to get moving, I did find that this to be an enjoyable film. This film was a lot of fun with plenty of laughs. The 3 protagonists characters were all well developed and some of the schemes they come up with to get their own back on their respective partners were rather clever. I felt that Goldie Hawn gave the stand out performance, but that's not to discredit Midler and Keaton who were also fantastic.

What really impressed me about the First Wives Club was the ending (which I won't give away), but let's just say that there was slightly more to it than meets the eye.

All in all, this was a fun ride with plenty of laughs. The plot summary will suggest that it is geared more towards women and if I'm honest I think that more women will enjoy this than men. Having said that I'm a man and I still enjoyed it. Give it a try!
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Would not have been as good without the casting
Dragoneyed3637 June 2008
The First Wives Club is definitely one of the movies for me that works so well because I love all the leads. They all are funny women who know how to work the script because they have done it a million times over. This movie is just great fun from beginning to end in that it is one big drama after another that just seems exaggerated, but again that's what makes the film. Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler are simply wonderful as usual. They throw their lines around and pop their jokes like they are pros at this kind of thing and it shows. Now it is why only the cast make this movie so well that it fails at other times, being pretentious and completely unaccommodating, but if you give it the chance The First Wives Club might surprise you on how well it manages to be a very warming and fun watch for anyone who knows how to handle it. The end sequence is my favorite.
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A Wonderful Glimpse into Relationships
grayianphoenix15 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The story is about how three friends end up reuniting after a tragic death of a friend. After this the three friends end up catching up and seeing what life has done to them. Once the friends have their emotional roller coasters with one another the decide to make the husband they helped create and make success in their professions to pay for ruining their futures.

What makes me absolutely irate are men who label this movie as feministic hatred toward the opposite gender. I am a man and I found this movie to be amazing in that it starts off labeling these men, jerks. But through the emotional toil these woman went through, some of the woman find out that their husbands were in fact decent men. This film goes on to show you that you can't possibly know everything about everyone. You have to live life and find out what it holds for you. Plus after reading Olivia Goldsmith's original novel, I thought this was an appropriate adaptation considering the audience. The original novel would have been most certainly rated "R." I was not only entertained, but I found myself chuckling at more than a few scenes. Sure there is the wasted talent of Stockard Channing who is on screen for all of 5 minutes. But then again if I had a chance to work with all the wonderfully talented people in this movie, I would have taken that part as well. I give it an 8 out of 10. I would have said 9 but Bette Midler doesn't get more than one song to sing on the soundtrack!!!
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Could have been a good farce, could have been a good message film, ended up being neither
ken9846528 December 2001
OK, I know this is a chick flick and I am anatomically incorrect. Still, I had high hopes for First Wives Club until about half way through. It looked like it was headed towards over-the-top farce like The Jerk or Adventures In Babysitting. Then it detoured and tried to be "important". Very few films can succeed at both. Willing suspense of disbelief works in a farce, but "important" movies need a coherent plot. The plot and the comedy both die midway, leaving us to wait for a painfully trite conclusion.

At least that's the way this non-chick saw it.
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dockerykelli27 June 2019
The First Wives Club is such a wonderful movie with a wonderful cast including the storyline. It has love, heartache, tons of laughter and revenge!!!! Shot beautifully!!!
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Divorced from reality...
majikstl4 March 2004
To understand where the film is coming from all you have to do is note that it features cameo guest appearances by both Ivana Trump and Gloria Steinem. The former, of course, is known for having gained all her wealth, power and fame from exploiting the wealth, power and fame of her husband/ex-husband and the latter is noted for gaining all her wealth, power and fame from her male-bashing bigotry. The film embraces both of these icons with equal self-righteousness.

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB film expects us to accept the notion that divorce in America is decidedly pro-male, designed to cheat women. This, it seems, is especially true if the women are white, well-educated, upper-class and socially prominent. While most people would be hard pressed to see such women as society's victims, the film takes it for granted that they are and expects us to never question that notion. If you don't, you will likely enjoy the film greatly. If you have even one working brain cell in your head, you should be rightly amazed at the gall the filmmakers have to so blatantly insult your intelligence.

The film deals with three former college chums, now middle-aged wives, who, coincidentally, are facing divorce all at the same time. The three are Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler -- three absolutely wonderful actresses. Because the system is so anti-female, the three have to resort to blackmail, kidnapping, extortion and racketeering in order to wrestle the family wealth out of the hands of their dimwitted husbands. It is notable that in the cases of Keaton and Midler's characters, they claim to deserve their husbands' money because they helped and supported them early in their careers. Meanwhile, in Hawn's case, her husband worked as her business manager and helped her become a leading film star, but she claims that she is the bread winner in the family and therefore he is entitled to nothing. The film is so dull-witted that it presents these conflicting plotlines and is totally oblivious to their obvious irony. The film's logic is clear: What's his is hers; what's hers is hers and what's theirs is hers.

Battle of the sexes comedies can be great fun, but only if both sides are evenly matched and equally clever -- think Kate and Spencer, Doris and Rock, or even Lucy and Desi. This lame film tries to stack the deck by pandering to feminist stereotypes: Women are better, but victimized; men are evil, but stupid. The irony is that by the end of the film the men are the sympathetic victims and the three leading actresses come off as smug monsters (thus the tacked on ending wherein they donate their ill-gotten loot to open a shelter for abused women -- apparently you can buy off guilt).

The really sad thing about this sorrowful little mess of a movie is that it wastes the talents of the three terrific leading ladies. They are victimized, not in the movie, but by the movie.
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A Bit Brainless, But Still a Good Watch...
Raven_Z3 June 2004
The First Wives Club, while being an amusing flick, should not and can not be compared to the novel of the same name. As a matter of fact, some of the problems many people have with the film virtually disappear in the novel.

Annie Paradise, played by Diane Keaton, is far more annoying on screen than on page. In the film, Annie is anxious, neurotic, and just plain wimpy, in comparison to the novel Annie who happens to be quiet, and somewhat "over-nice." While many find that this film is disturbingly feminist, Annie's actions are far more forgiving in the novel, which has an array of background characters which Annie's husband exploit (While in the movie, all that he does is marry her therapist). This is completely forgotten in the screenplay, where Annie's family of two sons, and a daughter with Down's Syndrome, is now whittled down to one daughter, Chris the Lesbian. One can hardly blame Annie for her actions in the novel, where Aaron Paradise, her ex-husband, favors one son and forgets the other, can never accept his handicap daughter, and steals all of her trust fund and gambles on the stock market, losing it. In the film, she just appears to be an embittered woman.

Bette Midler's character of Brenda remains very similar in personality, but very different in sexuality. Her children too, get an overhaul in the novel's transition to film, but since none make much of an appearance in either, this is irrelevant. In the novel, however, Brenda's money problems are much greater, and her anger with Morty who "welsched" on her is so great that there's not much of a chance of her wanting to get back together with him -- besides the fact that in the novel, he's in prison, and Brenda realizes, albeit somewhat late in life, that's she's a lesbian. Instead, she gets together with her feminist lawyer who helps her take on Morty.

Elise Elliot, played by Goldie Hawn, is the most shocking change of character. Elise Elliot of the film is shallow, vain, and out of work because of her impending age. Elise Elliot (Atchison) of the novel is down-to-earth, classy, intelligent, and battling to enjoy her life while still following her mother's advice of how a wealthy heiress should live. Bill, her husband, commits crimes that are minor compared to the other Wives' husbands - as one of the richest women (by inheritance) in the world, she only asked that Bill would try to give her as normal of a life as possible. Instead, her cheated on her multiple times. Elise gets involved in Bill's downfall very little, however, and he brings it upon himself by falling in love with a self-destructive young woman named Phoebe.

While I enjoy both the movie and the book, the comparison is depressing. The film is filled with self-righteous feminism, and is the story of three women who can't seem to handle the fact that their marriages have now ended -- and all men appear to be pigs. The novel is intelligent and funny, and the women only bring justice to their husbands, letting "the punishment fit the crime." Also, in the novel, how a person acted depended on who they were, not their sex. All three Wives find love in new men (or in Brenda's case, women).

While watching the First Wives Club, one must remember to take all of it's actions with a grain of salt - it is merely an exaggeration of an idea. The novel is one of justice, and an excellent account of the lives of "WASPs" in New York -- don't blame it for how it's been adapted.
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Coarse, low-grade man-bashing
Enid-320 February 1999
If you are one of those dodos who think that bigotry toward men is acceptable, especially when disguised as a joke, you will probably like this film. The rest of us will just wince.
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Pathetic novel-to-movie rendering
JALavarnway9 July 2000
I found this movie frustrating. I read Olivia Goldsmith's novel and found it deep, emotional, and justified in its revenge. The novel involves much deeper issues, like a father taking money from his retarded daughter, a man who beat his wife and forced her to allow their daughter to die following an accident, a man who refuses to support his children, et cetera.

This movie focuses on petty revenge because they are not happy with being discarded for twenty year olds. It has NONE of the book's depth, characters, or deep emotional satisfaction in revenge. It has nothing more than cheap satisfaction and cheap revenge. I watched it once and would never look at it again.
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Even As A Female Myself, I Loathed This Movie
wchngliu17 November 2007
I saw the film purely by accident a couple of years ago on a plane when I was travelling to Hong Kong and this was shown on screen.

The First Wives Club is mainly based on a book- of which I am not that familiar with- and is a very anti-male take on 3 women who get together and plan their revenge against their hubby's, after they mistreat them. The script was poor, the performances were below-par given the standard of the three female leads, Midler, Hawn and Keaton and for a film supposedly trying to promote gender equality it fails because it portrays the male characters as sleazy, money grabbing chauvinists.

This comedy movie is also so devoid of actual laughs, the wisecracks were typically old-fashioned, sexist and the narrative derivative- and this coming from a woman. If society is ever going to become more equally tolerant and acceptable of men and women, then it needs to start by getting rid of pro-feminist concepts which celebrates the triumphs of femininity but ridicules and criticises masculinity. We have things such as women studies for eg, and yet if men were to have male studies, they would be slated for that too.

I didn't really care one bit about the characters, because they were all stereotypes of men and women and in truth I don't mind watching TV shows and films with a predominately female slant to it, just as long as its treatment of its male counterparts is on an equal playing level and vice versa with the women. But with movies such as The First Wives Club, they are misleading and wrongly perpetuate the notion that all women are great and all men are heartless, scheming, cheating, lying toe rags.

Such a shame that with a stellar cast in Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler, the film sends itself up to be male-bashing farce, as opposed to one that highlights the positives and negatives of both men and women through these characters and addressing the argument of the battle of the sexes, in a open minded and fair way that doesn't make all women out to be the good guys and the men the so-called bad guys.

The ending was a bit of a farce because the men end up going back to their girlfriends and wives, despite their behaviour and going out with other women that Hawn, Midler and Keaton take them back.

Whilst this will not rank in my top ten worst movies ever list- i've seen much worst in my time- this ultimately is a flawed movie which to be honest, having seen it once, I have no intention of ever seeing it again
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Did not really stand out for me.
david-sarkies5 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Well, this was an entertaining movie, but it did not really stand out. The movie started off slowly and seemed to end in a whimper. The main characters came out on top, and the men that they were trying to manipulate were successfully manipulated. This is not an original movie as I had seen it all before in She-Devil. The only difference was that it dealt with three women instead of one.

The basic premise is that four women graduated from college together full of idealism. Later in life their idealism is destroyed as their respective husbands walk out on them - and each of them handle it in a different way. One destroys herself with alcohol, another constantly complains and tries to hang onto her son, while another remains oblivious to the fact that anything is wrong. The forth one throws herself off of a building and it is this event that draws them all back together. They realise that they had given their respective husbands the best years of their life, and this has been discarded by them, so they decide to get back at their husbands and destroy them. Basically it becomes a similar plot to that of She-Devil.

There is nothing that really stands out in this movie that I really wish to discuss. It looks at the frustration that women face in divorce, and though this may be a rare case, women can be just as vicious in divorce proceedings as can men. If we look at Liar Liar, we see a woman milking the man for all that she can get - while here the men have used the women and thrown them away. I agree that men can be bastards, but so can everybody.

I guess the purpose of this movie was to try and bring us into the women's point of view - but the theme can be gender-neutral, with the exception that men (or men that I have known) will simply wallow in their misery, while women will carry on. Even then that statement is not entirely true as everybody reacts to a divorce situation differently. I was going to make a comment that it was based on a book written by a female, while the screenwriters and directors were male, meaning that the female psyche is not portrayed as well as say a film by Amy Heckerling. But this film does no such thing and is really a movie about people being thrown away and then climbing back up to the top.

In conclusion, I will say that this is not an outstanding or impressive movie, and though entertaining after the first few minutes, it is nothing that I will really talk about that much.
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nankipoo5 April 2002
Today, this "movie" is holding a 5.5 rating on the IMDB, but it should be much, much lower. The ONLY draw here is to see the 3 main actresses exploiting the over used theme of "men as pigs"...the good news is that the "film" is probably almost totally forgotten.
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It doesn't get any cornier than this
Maciste_Brother27 February 2007
I love Diane Keaton and Maggie Smith. So-so Bette Midler. I can't stand Goldie Hawn. I watched THE FIRST WIVES CLUB on some channel while I was working on my computer, needing some sort of silly distraction in the background. Boy, what a corny movie. Seriously corny film. Embarrassingly corny flick. Were the three female stars going through menopause, which can only explain the bad decision the three gals made in agreeing to star in this crappy "comedy".

I mean, any comedy from the 1930s, 1940s and even the corny 1950s, were much more clever than this treacly stillborn yawnfest. Speaking of yawns, can someone explain to me the appeal of Goldie Hawn? She plays the same kind of character in every film: ditzy babe (in this case, over-the-hill ditzy babe). She has no range whatsoever. And this is set against Keaton and Midler, who also play clichéd characters. And Maggie Smith is totally wasted in a pointless character.

Everything in this product is pure corn. The gals exacting revenge on their philandering husbands is so unconvincing and simplistic, that I groaned non-stop in abject embarrassment. Who wrote this thing, a 12 year old? The ending is particularly awful, with everyone joining a party in honor of the first wives club, including the husbands they just emasculated. And in the closing shot we see the three women sing and dance in the middle of an empty street, which is a true low-point in corniness.

Diane Keaton, one of my favorite actors, has been making a lot of bad movies these days. She should be more choosy with the kind of scripts she's being offered. After THE FAMILY STONE and now this, I'll probably stop watching all of her new films.
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The Militant Feminists "Birth Of A Nation"
Danny-3016 January 1999
If you are not familiar with "Birth Of A Nation", it's a classic silent film in which the Ku Klux Klan is regarded as heroes saving the purity of man from the "evil" negroes. It was a clearly horrid lie that was taken as truth by the devilish film. Now comes along "The First Wives Club", and equally shocking and appauling film which essentially outlines all males and philandering scumbags and the womens job to destroy their lives. Now, the characters in this film get what the asked for, they are all exceptionally sleazy, but it works as a clear political/social statement that all men are evil. I was disgusted by this putrid film, it could have least be entertaining. Its hateful vengeance was weighted with idiotic jokes, a predictable storyline, and an utterly revolting and asinine closing musical sequence that made me suicidal. Avoid this filthy film at all costs, unless you want to feel really bad about human kind in general.
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Maybe I'm a man.
digitair25 August 2003
I am offended by the other reviewers' comments implying or stating as a fact that this is the film that _all_ women will love. As a woman, I can say it's a generous overstatement.

A film with much noise and screaming, cheesy dialogs, and shallow gossipy characters can't please everyone, and The First Wives Club certainly didn't please me.

I'm happy that not all women are like the characters in this film. Otherwise, I would have to consider a sex change operation.
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It's just not funny.
Flinx-29 October 1999
Luckily I can keep this brief, as it seems many share my low regard for this moronic film and have stated the flaws quite eloquently. Yes, the film is very "anti-man" and if a similar film were made today reversing the roles with the same unapologetic glee there would be misogynistic outcries of rage. But the real problem is that it's simply not funny. Black comedy without humor is just plain bad.

A big fat Zero out of 10. I would have given it a 1 to be merciful, but if I see another film with people dancing and singing to oldies trying to capture the 20 year old zeitgeist of "The Big Chill"... well, enough said.
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A comedy, perhaps...but there are also MANY dark moments and a deeper message.
MartinHafer6 November 2011
If you watch "The First Wives Club" because you need a good laugh, perhaps you should try another film. Yes, it clearly has some funny moments but it also is filled with dark ones--and a message you wouldn't expect to find in a simple comedy. You KNOW it's going to be a dark film at the beginning, as a lady whose husband has left her takes her own life. This horrible event brings some of her old friends to the funeral--and there they compare notes and see that they, too, were used and cast aside by their husbands--husbands who have no replaced them with trophy wives. So, the three friends (Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn) concoct a plan--a plan that involves fleecing their unfaithful ex-husbands and creating a club for wives going through the same sort of situations they have.

As I said, there are some dark moments and some funny ones. But the film never falls to the level of slapstick or becomes mostly comedy--but a mix. Some may not like this and the film is a bit heavy-handed at times, but the overall film is well worth seeing and has a decent feminist message. Worth seeing.
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A psychotic revenge fantasy
steveneaklor8 January 2006
If you are a man-hating feminist who has read every word of Susan Brownmiller, Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin and hung on every syllable of their writings as though they were incandescent truth, have I ever got a film for you! First of all, I did not go to see this movie about three women who plot revenge on their husbands for having committed the unspeakable crime of leaving them for younger women, or rent it. It happened to have been playing on a tour bus I was on, and try as I might, I could not ignore it. I have resolved on the basis of this movie never to ride another tour bus if any movies whose titles or content I do not know in advance are playing. I found this a thoroughly disagreeable film.

Looking at it, I found myself thinking of a review by the late Richard Grenier of the movie M*A*S*H. Writing in the October 1981 issue of Commentary, Mr. Grenier said: "...I have never watched an ostensible comedy with such stony grimness..., and this for the simple reason that I found it to be inspired by no humor..., but entirely by cruelty, malice and an inordinate craving to humiliate. It would have been like laughing at a dog running frantically in circles, driven mad by a tin can some boys had tied to his tail. And also being asked to admire the boys." As noted, the center of this film is the relationship between three women (Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton) whose husbands each leave them for younger women, which in the context of this film is the unpardonable sin. The heart of the film is their elaborate revenge plots, all of which seem wildly disproportionate - rather like setting an arson fire to a hobby shop that sells you a model airplane kit with parts missing. Continuing from Mr. Grenier: "What makes (the movie) even more repellent is that the torment our heroes inflict on their adversaries is administered so smugly, with an air of overweening sanctimony, as if anyone who stands in their way deserves what he gets." But enough. I have wasted too much time on this ridiculous film already. Let me close with one final Grenier quote, which applies perfectly here: "...every foot of (this film is) marked by...smug hooliganism.... Its most essential trait is the complacent assumption that if one is in the can commit any brutality, any cruelty, any humiliation. If one is right, human dignity no longer applies."
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