Set in the 1930s on the beautiful shores of the Italian Riviera A Good Woman follows the seductive Mrs. Erlynne (Hunt) scorned by many as a woman of ill repute leaves New York for the Amalfi coast where she hopes to find... more » a new patron among the vacationing aristocrats. The mean-spirited gossip stirred up by Mrs. Erlynne s arrival isn t enough to dissuade the jovial kind-hearted Lord Augustus (Wilkinson) from falling in love with her.But Mrs. Erlynne has already set her sights on the married Robert Windermere (Mark Umbers) a wealthy young American who falls quickly under her spell. Windermere s faithful wife Meg (Johansson) is herself distracted by the flirtatious overtures of Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore) a notorious playboy. But when she learns of her husband s blossoming affair Meg resorts to drastic measures with unexpected consequences for everyone involved.System Requirements:Running Time: 93 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: PG UPC: 031398185789 Manufacturer No: 18578« less
Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 2/19/2015...
I really liked this movie. It surprised me with the twists. The 20's movies have started to be of interest to me.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Amy N. (dejavualloveragain) from NEWCASTLE, WY Reviewed on 2/15/2011...
I very much enjoyed this movie. Tom Wilkinson is so wonderful in his role, I don't think they could have cast it better. This movie forces us to question our initial judgements of people. "Every saint has a past, and every sinner a future."
6 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mary L. (marymix) from NANTUCKET, MA Reviewed on 7/11/2010...
Another wonderful Oscar Wilde story with twists and follies before the happy ending. Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson are wonderful, but Tom Wilkinson was my favorite in this movie. Don't miss the last bonus scene after the credits roll.
7 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
Frank E. (realartist) from HENDERSONVLLE, NC Reviewed on 8/28/2009...
I took a script writing course at the local college for amusement. I discovered there, that 'good scripts' have a 'protagonist', the hero, or 'good guy with whom we identify; and an 'antagonist', the bad guy. More often than not, the bad guy is a charicature of pure evil..someone we all love to hate. Moreover, a 'good script, has the bad guy, and his evil ways, prevail for, like, 99% of the movie..and a final victory over evil in the last few seconds of the film, providing us with something akin to emotional release and satisfaction....like an orgasm perhaps..maybe the reason they call it "the climax' of the film.
The production and the acting is superb in this movie. For that, I give it an "A". But there , unfortunately, is a glaring and fatal flaw...it is penned by the notorious libertine, Oscar Wilde of the UK. The fatal flaw is that his tales serve as a platform for him to 'preach' as it were - his particular brand of amoral behaviour. The script is absolutely chock full of the poorest advice ever proffered to the unsuspecting public at large. The premise of the story involves a high priced 'call girl'...the kind we read about in the press that torpedoed, for instance Elliott Spitzer, attorney general of New York, who was caught frequenting a similar high priced call girl. Both career and marriage went down in flames, and humiliating reportage in the national press which feeds upon prurience like this...and makes a LOT of dough in the process....which, frankly speaking, is another form of 'prostitution' = the selling of newspapers by resorting to pandering to the gossip mongers of the world, which exist in overwhelming numbers, sadly. There are more important things to consider...like 30% interest charged for your 'buy now, pay later plan at lens crafts people. But no...we'd much rather indulge ourselves in the dirt on other people's lives.
Gossip mongers abound in this film and are prominently featured. The reputation of Helen Hunt, playing the prostitute becomes so bad, that she can no longer be seen in public. What makes this ( cough ) literature go down in flames is the insistence on lines like "It takes a life of practice to live a life without regret"...in other words, Helen Hunt's character is presented to us as a 'model' of good behaviour...hence 'the good woman'. She is not a good woman. Infidelity is explained by a friend and confidant of the wronged young naive wife, played by Scarlett Johansson = that infidelity is "normal" and to be expected in life...the trick is: "... to not let it get to you...just go shopping" is the lame and monumentally stupid advice. There is a glib and insipid 'just get used to it' light hearted foolishness/clever reparte theme running through the entire script. The dialogue is presented to us as "cute, and charming"....and it is in point of fact sinister and evil all by itself. Infidelity is NOT normal. it wrecks lives. It exhausts bank accounts...it robs, kills, and destroys.
The pure evil in this story is the author himself. A crack is made about the U.S. by the way ( the story takes place among the filthy rich during the Great Depression, whiling away the economic disasters affecting the world in opulent Italy...the crack is "America is the only country we know that went from Barabarism to Decadence without bothering to create a Civilization in between"....This is a profoundly insulting, stupid movie. America has and is developing a civilization....and accomplishing it in part by thoroughly rejecting virtually everything Great Britain stands for - which includes their demigod Darwin. "Since life is an accidental confluence of chemicals, it logically means, there is no such thing as right or wrong"....this is Great Britain; and no one represents it more clearly and distinctly than Oscar Wilde.
7 of 17 member(s) found this review helpful.
Danielle T. (sugarkane) from FITCHBURG, WI Reviewed on 12/5/2007...
I loved this movie, I really did. It surprised me by how great it was, and I love when that happens. There is a surprise twist in the movie that kept me happily occupied.
6 of 8 member(s) found this review helpful.
Truth and love
Linda | CT, United States | 03/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Is there such a thing as a bad movie made in Italy? Probably, but at least the scenery's usually good. I can't imagine A Good Woman working in a setting like New York or London, but I don't have to. It's set in 1930's Amalfi, the perfect background for a story like this one. Professional mistress Mrs. Erlynne flees to Italy when too many wives are on to her at home. On the ship, she notices a newspaper photo of a young couple, and she knows exactly what her next move should be. The young wife is innocent and naive, and all sorts of innuendo and gossip go flying around Amalfi that season. This is a woman's picture, and Helen Hunt as the adventuress has never looked more beautiful. Her voice, unfortunately, is rather too clipped and less sultry than it need to be, but in the end, she pulls of her role. Scarlett Johanssen is well-suited to her character, and both women turn out to be more than they seem at the end. Beautiful wardrobe, very subtle music, and a fine performance by Tom Wilkinson, as a jaded, expat Brit who has learned a little something about reality and happiness, add to the success of this production. I'm now off to read the Oscar Wilde original."
(3.5 STARS) Decent Adaptaion of Oscar Wilde's 'Lady Winderme
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 12/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The film is titled `A Good Woman,' but it is actually filmed version of Oscar Wilde play `Lady Windermere's Fan.' Wilde's original, which was put on stage in 1892 and became the first `hit' for Wilde, was set in the drawing room of end-of-the-century England, but `A Good Woman' shifted the background to the Amalfi coast (South Italy) in the 1930s. The director is Mike Barker from England (`To Kill a King'), but some of the main characters' roles are played by American actors.
Two women play the central roles in `A Good Woman.' One is Mrs. Erlynne, `a woman of experience' (Helen Hunt, cast against type) a seductive middle-aged woman from New York. Shunned by the aristocratic society, she still hopes to win the love of gentleman - a rich gentleman - and here in Italy, it seems, she has already attracted some of them. One of them is `Tuppy' (delightful Tom Wilkinson), who refuses to listen to the rumor about Erlynne.
The other woman is Lady Windermere, `a woman of innocence' (Scarlett Johansson), who is newly married, and devotes herself to her husband. After arriving at this beautiful Italian resort, however, her husband Lord Windermere (Mark Umbers) seems to have got nervous about something, some secret he knows, which lady's man Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore) also happen to notice in his checkbook.
The film retains the basic storyline of Wilde's original. There is a twist (as in the original) which might or might not surprise you. All in all the filmed version is successful in maintaining our interest in the story, which gets melodramatic especially in the second half. The changed location is not a bad thing to me (the `stagy' films are not my cup of tea), but the changed times are a different matter. The 1930s is, I m afraid, too modern a period to make the rigid social conventions of late Victorian convincing. The first part of the film is, I think, considerably weakened by the changed situation and lengthy introduction.
Here is another complaint. As the film's title suggests, `A Good Woman' is more about the ladies than about the gentlemen. That is good. Consequently, however, unlike the original play two male roles Lord Darlington and Lord Windermere look less impressive than the ones you meet in the book. This is a problem because many of the witty lines of Wilde are uttered by Lord Darlington and his character as a flirt plays an important role in the second half of the play. He should be more attractive, hopefully devilishly charming.
You may object to the casting of Ms. Hunt and Ms. Johansson. I find Helen Hunt's lady Windermere sexually seductive enough, but not really seductive enough to make her look like a social climber. Not that her acting is bad, but you may name a name or two of someone who could play the same role as good as, or perhaps better than, Helen Hunt.
`A Good Woman' is easy on the eye with two beautiful leading ladies in gorgeous costumes, and fun to see with intelligent dialogues (and it is Oscar Wilde, the genius, so why not witty after all?) The original play's social satire is no longer compelling, now. But `A Good Woman' is light-hearted, maybe too light-hearted you might say, but is still sweet and pleasant."
Wild About Wilde? A Strangely Subdued Retelling Of A Litera
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 03/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Some people like to skydive or rock climb for adventure. I must admit, at this stage in my life, adventure (for me) is jumping into a movie that I know absolutely nothing about and hoping for the best. Daring, huh? Such is the case with the vaguely titled "A Good Woman." I knew it starred Helen Hunt, Tom Wilkinson and Scarlett Johannson--and that was enough to lead me on the "adventure" of discovering this film. Imagine my surprise, then, (about a third of the way through) when a character named Windermere was purchasing a fan for his wife--and I suddenly realized I was watching a strange modernization of Oscar Wilde's classic play aptly entitled "Lady Windermere's Fan." I felt pretty foolish, I must admit--but I don't entirely blame myself.
Instead of the claustrophobic drawing rooms in 1890's England, "A Good Woman" is fashioned in Italy of the 1930's (an odd choice considering the political climate at the time--which is conveniently never mentioned). The Windermere's are now Americans. And what was once Wilde's comedy of manners has become a rather stilted drama with occasional one-liners that fans of Wilde's works will recognize. I certainly have no problem with re-imagining a classic work, such as this. But "A Good Woman" keeps the storyline of "Lady Windermere's Fan" while jettisoning the elements that make it an effective social commentary. The intimate settings of the play establish a world where gossip is an essential part of daily life, the wicked interactions are all anyone have to occupy their time. By opening things up to the Italian countryside, this seems to be less relevant. It's as if the primary characters are engaged in a different movie from the supporting players who make mockery of them.
"A Good Woman" tells the story of Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt), a seductress that has made a career of manipulating the egos of wealthy men. After being chased from American society, she settles in Italy where her path crosses with a young aristocrat named Windermere and his bride (Johannson). Windermere's relationship with Mrs. Erlynne sets the tongues wagging. It's best not to reveal too much of the plot for those unfamiliar with the play--but again, the film's screenplay loses much of Wilde's language, flow, and intricate comedy. Only the talented and British supporting players, led by the sublime Wilkinson, seem to be trying to maintain Wilde's spirit.
Still, this is a handsome production. But no amount of lush scenery and exquisite costuming can hide the film's truly fatal flaw. No offense to Helen Hunt, or her fans, but her interpretation of Mrs. Erlynne leaves much to be desired. With a stilted cadence to her speech and a pinched expression, Hunt never convinces us that she could be the irresistible creation that she needs to be. Johannson is somewhat vacant in her role, as well, but that is better disguised by her character's naiveté. It is Wilkinson, in particular, that completely saves this production. With much needed humor and charm, "A Good Woman" is inexplicably salvaged by a man! While this isn't terrible by any stretch, it's unlikely to send new viewers to seek out the works of Oscar Wilde--and that's a real disappointment. KGHarris, 03/07."
S. Mitchell | Tyler, TX United States | 04/13/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big movie fan and especially period pieces but this was a sorry movie! Helen Hunt delivered her lines with less emotion than a waitress behind the counter of Denny's. Her voice tones are great for sarcasm but for meaning and depth lines it stinks.
Johansson was as pale as a ghost. Sure she was a very young innocent but she needed some rouge. I also thought she looked downright ugly and dowdy in this movie. Altho the costumes were beautiful she was an ugly ducklying standout.
The whole movie lacked the delicate touch and nuance a Wilde story should have. Helen Hunt was the biggest standout as missed casting. She may do in cutting edge stories in 2000 but not in this period piece.
The scenery and costumes were about the only redeeming factor in this movie."
The miscasting is mightier than the engaging storyline
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/21/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I really went back and forth with this film. In the end, though, I just couldn't get past the fact that even a good script based on the work of a literary genius like Oscar Wilde just can't overcome the deleterious effects of problematic acting. I can't bring myself to say bad acting because I think Scarlett Johansson is a very good actress and - while I don't really care for her - Helen Hunt is as well. Neither was very good in One Good Woman, however. The blame must really fall on the director and casting director, though, as neither actress really belonged in this film. Helen Hunt may well have tried too hard to fill the role of the adventuress, man-chasing Mrs. Erlynne, resulting in a slow and careful (sometimes stultifying) delivery of dialogue that gives rise to no feeling or charisma whatsoever. With very little charm at her disposal, it becomes difficult to believe that so many men fall so easily under her spell. As for Johansson, she seems totally out of her element here, clearly uncomfortable throughout many a scene. Fortunately, Tom Wilkinson and the fellows I affectionately call "the old geezers" come bearing the quick wit and natural bearing called for in this type of satirical treatment. That allows the script to shine in places, thereby saving the whole project from disaster.
Clearly, this film takes many a liberty with Oscar Wilde's classic drama Lady Windermere's Fan, yet it still wields quite an impressive sword of satirical wit here and there in the script. The story is basically an attack on the hypocrisies of gossip vis-à-vis high society, something Wilde knew quite a bit about. Lady Meg Windermere (Scarlett Johansson) is a young newlywed living in idyllic bliss with her husband Robert. Wealthy, attractive, and well-to-do, she thinks she has the perfect marriage to a man she trusts implicitly. Then Mrs. Erlynne shows up, having left New York rather hastily, courtesy of several wives anxious to see her depart from their husbands' lives. Mrs. Erlynne has always relied (and indeed prospered mightily) on the kindness of strange men, earning her quite a reputation in 1930s America and, rather quickly, Italy. She and Robert Windermere are soon the hot topic of local gossip, with nosy well-to-do women tracking their private meetings and going quite apoplectic about it to one another. When word finally filters down to her, Meg is quite stunned and contemplates some rather rash action of her own. Meanwhile, dear old Tuppy (Wilkinson), a man with his own share of past social indelicacies, quite falls for Mrs. Erlynne and proposes marriage - to the chagrin of all his marriage-hating buddies. These are the lovable "old geezers" I was talking about, and they constantly delight the viewer with short, stinging, and remarkably witty complaints about the institution of marriage.
I won't attempt to chronicle the shifting layers of this film, for the plot takes a number of delicious turns along the way. The plot's solid, as is the writing. Indeed, I would sometimes find myself pulled into the story rather engagingly, but the magic always departed once Hunt and/or Johansson turned up for a more serious scene. That proves to be too much for this film to overcome. Yes, it's always a treat to reexplore Victorian sensibilities (even if they're arbitrarily shifted to 1930s Italy), but A Good Woman never exhibits the first sign of life or energy, plodding its way through a story that could have and should have been much more enjoyable."