A GOOD WOMAN: DVD
Only a year married, young Lady Windermere (Scarlett Johansson) and her handsome husband Robert (Mark Umbers) join the social set on the Amalfi Coast of Italy for the summer holidays in 1930. When the well known American seductress and gold digger Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt) arrives, the gossip mill begins to churn, escalated by sightings of Robert visiting Mrs. Erlynne's villa privately. Everyone seems to know of this scandal, except his wife, and when she discovers that he's been paying her large sums of money, she concludes that he's having an affair with this notorious woman. But things get confusing when the wealthy and twice divorced Tuppy (Tom Wilkinson) asks Mrs. Erlynne to marry him. Lady Windermere's admirer, Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore), uses the opportunity to try and steal her away from Robert, and in the process a great misunderstanding stands to ruin Tuppy's impending marriage, while Mrs Erlynne's extraordinary secret - known only to her and Robert - is in danger of being revealed to Lady Windermere.
Review by Louise Keller:
Filled with wonderful quips of wisdom from Oscar Wilde, A Good Woman is an enjoyable social satire about love and deception. The story comes from Wilde's play Lady Windermere's Fan, and the dialogue never ceases to hit its mark. Although times may have changed since the 1930s when the story is set, human emotions remain the same, enabling our connection to the characters and their plight. The film looks a treat with its gorgeous locations on the Amalfi Coast, and its elaborate settings and costumes.
Helen Hunt as Mrs Erlynne, the good woman of the title who thrives from being of ill-repute never looks totally comfortable in the role of the seductress, who has manipulated every married man into her bed; she is far too nice. Scarlett Johansson fits perfectly into the corseted gown of a young and naïve bride, while Tom Wilkinson simply sparkles as the cynical-in-love Tuppy. Tuppy has his fair share of great lines - like 'Why shouldn't she want me for my money? It's my best asset,' and 'A man keeps his eyes shut before the wedding and half closed after.' But if there's one line that stands out, it's the one delivered by the marvellous Milena Vukotic's Contessa Lucchino, when she observes 'Crying is the refuge of plain women; pretty women go shopping.'
The Windermeres (Mark Umbers and Johansson) are New Yorkers holidaying in Italy, when Mrs Erlynne arrives in search of a fat purse to cater for her expensive whims. Stephen Campbell Moore's Lord Darlington is infatuated by Lady Windamere, but she has eyes only for her husband. It doesn't take long, however, for everyone except her to be gossiping about the apparent indiscretions.
Director Mike Barker (Best Laid Plans) has a good feel for the material, and as the plot progresses, it is clear that everything is not as it appears. The final reel packs an emotional punch when Mrs Erlynne makes her ultimate sacrifice, as the threads of the story weave their conclusion. A Good Woman is a witty and intelligent film that is timeless in its appeal.
Published April 27, 2006
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A GOOD WOMAN: DVD (PG)
CAST: Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Campbell Moore, Mark Umbers, Milena Vokotic, Diana Hardcastle, Roger Hammond
DIRECTOR: Mike Barker
SCRIPT: Howard Himeslstein (play by Oscar Wilde)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Seresin
EDITOR: Neil Farrell
MUSIC: Richard Mitchell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ben Scott
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 23, 2005
SPECIAL FEATURES: .
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch
DVD RELEASE: May 4, 2006