I don’t really remember how my seeing this came to pass, but it would seem accurate that it was an “on a whim” rental. Later I found it at a going-out-of-business sale and decided to nab it at a low cost.
A Good Woman (2004) Film Review
The wealthy and influentially powerful follow society’s lead and go abroad for “the season.” Over the summer months one of the locales to bring out the cream of society is the Italian coast. Robert Windermere (Mark Umbers) and his young wife Meg (Scarlett Johansson) have been married a year but are most happy; their marriage is based on mutual trust and love. Shortly after they arrive, a fellow American traveler enters their social circle.
Leaving scandal in her wake, Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt) trades one gossip-laden society for another. She is penniless but she soon puts the village’s gossip mill to work. Nearly as soon as she arrives, she catches the eye of the dim-witted (by his own admission!) but very wealthy Tuppy (Tom Wilkinson). Robert’s friend Lord Darlington (Stephan Campbell-Moore) also mingles in Italy for the season. In his case, it’s Meg who unwittingly attracts him. Despite her efforts, he makes no secret of his affection thus setting in motion a series of events that could lead to ruin, and more than one broken heart.
Seeing this the second time through, I’ve no doubt that I grew to like it even more. Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite playwrights when it comes to seeing his original work adapted into witty screenplays (An Ideal Husband, Importance of Being Earnest). This might be one of his lesser works, but it’s just as fun a story. Its better points set out to be a comedy but the viewer cannot see this until everything comes to a head at its close. So for that reason alone, a lot of the movie sets up like a mini mystery without really meaning to, and features some bang-up talent in the meantime.
Who’d guess pairing such an ensemble together would work magic? Somehow it works to the movie’s advantage and every single subplot works like clockwork. There is a little twist nearer the end and even though it isn’t hard to figure out, it essentially “makes” the movie and alleviates the disdain growing for certain characters; nearly all of whom are at least likable, if not completely trustworthy.
Unfortunately, even with a lesser rating, this isn’t age-appropriate for everyone. It does explore some interesting dilemmas like the cost of telling a lie in a relationship previously open and honest or the fact that this is counseled against (the argument being since she made the mistake, and it was her choice, she, and no one else, should be made to bear the “burden” of such a mistake).
Its costuming is nothing to sneeze at, and many of the pieces are truly gorgeous. The hats and lightweight summer costume design is among some of the most beautiful, even compared to BBC masterpieces. I truly do enjoy this drama, originally known as Mrs. Windermere’s Fan, and am glad to find something I think I’ll be glad to see on a repeat viewing every now and again. Pacing is slow, but never so that we feel bored with the ideas. Its script is witty and tolerably clever without being too full of itself and in the end, it disproves something we’ve all been guilty of doing – forming incorrect first impressions.‘A Good Woman’ is an Interesting Period Drama Romance. A review of the 2004 drama with Scarlett Johanson. #PeriodDrama #Throwback #Movies #Romance Click To Tweet
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You can find A Good Woman on Amazon Video
Note: this review was published in the archives five or more years earlier. Since moving to WordPress, 90% of the reviews, lists and articles need re-formats and/or other updates. Updated edits and changes to fit current formats have been made; it has also been updated with new photos, and republished.
Originally published July 12 2012
Content: Lots of conversation revolves around affairs; one woman is said to have slept with nearly everyone’s husband and a man attempts to seduce a married woman [kisses, promises of love, etc.]. Some immodest dress and there’s drinking is in several scenes; someone is punched. Several scenes are sensual. A married couple lie in best with sheets over them in a post-sex scene; one man wants to stay the night with his companion but she sends him away. [Although married, someone nearly runs off with another.] A Good Woman is PG.