A Good Woman (PG)Thursday 07 Jul 2005
Directed by Mike Baker, starring Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Campbell Moore, Milena Vukotic and Mark Umbers.
Based on Oscar Wilde's 'Lady Windermere's Fan', this is a fantastic adaptation of the period drama/comedy. Set in the 1930s, on the Italian Riveria, scandal arrives in the form of one lady. Trying to seduce young, rich men, with gossip ricocheting through the streets, nothing will stop this bold, determined woman from getting her way.
Mrs Stella Erlynne (Hunt) leaves America when there's no more money to be had from her men there. She sets sail for the beautiful shores of Amalfi, Italy, in search of some young, male aristocrats. Holidaying there are newly weds Meg (Johansson) and Robert (Umbers) Windermere, who are passionately in love. But the arrival of the seductress lures Robert Windermere away from his young wife. When Meg discovers her husband's apparent infidelity, she looks twice at the womanising Lord Darlington (Campbell Moore). And despite the defamatory gossip surrounding Stella Erlynne, one man Tubby (Wilkinson) finds everything about her fascinating and falls in love.
The affluent locals delight in the romancing before them. Three bachelors, young and old, offer their wise views on marriage, love and indeed everything else. There are plenty of quotable lines and much cynicism and optimism offered on both the bliss and misfortune of marriage. The emphasis in this film is on the script and the script emphasises wit, remaining true to Wilde's original, unrelenting repartee.
Everything about this film is chic. A fantastic period drama, glimmering with fashion, beauty and the scenic Italian coast. The casting/dialogue combination deftly captures the time; the location, detail and costumes transport you there. Similar to 'A Room with a View,' this is a much more colourful production and more intelligent. Where 'A Room with a View' dealt with the more strait-laced, 'A Good Woman' follows the more blasé aristocrats making it a much more charming and entertaining drama filled with jovial characters.
Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson bring their own charms to the film, both apt for the genre, but Tom Wilkinson is the star who is loveable in his goofy ways.
From the outset, 'A Good Woman' sets a nice, flowing pace, which is consistent throughout. This is a sophisticated production that is quality viewing. While it's a period drama, there's a merit in it that should mark it as a classic.
Patricia O' Callaghan