Mary (Meg Ryan), Sylvie (Annette Benning), Edie (Debra Messing) and Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith) are best friends living in New York. Mary has been happily married for 13 years to a Wall Street financier. She has a daughter, Molly (India Ennega), verging on her teenage years. Mary is caught up in the socialite world of charity events, having given up her aspirations to design for the sake of her husband’s career. Her seemingly perfect world falls apart when she discovers her husband is having an affair with the much younger Crystal (Eva Mendes), who works behind the perfume counter at Saks. Mary’s friends, mother (Candice Bergen) and staff (Cloris Leachman and Tilly Scott Pedersen) try to offer their support, advice and love with mixed results.
In the meantime, Mary’s friends have their own problems to deal with. Sylvie is struggling to keep her job at a high fashion magazine. She is blackmailed by a gossip columnist (Carrie Fischer) to betray her friendship with Mary in one final sacrifice for her career. Complicating this relationship further is Sylvie’s discovery that all is not well for Molly who is struggling with her parent’s separation, her own body image issues and burgeoning choices of adolescence. Sylvie becomes Molly’s secret confidante.
Edie discovers she is pregnant for the fifth time and is hoping for a boy. She has her own relationship history and secrets that she hopes Mary won’t discover. Alex is struggling to write a follow-up to her first successful novel and manage the moods of her new supermodel girlfriend.
Relationships; betrayal; adolescence; family breakdown
There is some violence in this movie including a scene in which Sylvie angrily throws a piece of fruit at Mary’s head. Mary says ‘Ow’ but is otherwise unharmed.
There are some sexual references in this movie. For example:
- Sylvie asks Mary if she is ‘having sex’.
- Characters talk about the fact that Alex is a lesbian, and has a new girlfriend.
- Mary finds out that Crystal is having an affair with her husband. She gets angry that ‘that stupid woman’ is ‘screwing Steven’. She tells Sylvie that she is punishing Steven by not sleeping with him.
- Sylvie refers to Crystal’s ‘slut factor in the bedroom’.
- An upset Mary rants about her sex life in front her housekeeper maid, complaining about ‘three years of sex with the same man’. She asks, ‘Did I bang the Federal Express man?!’ She states that nobody ‘could suck the nails out of a bed better than me’.
- One of Sylvie’s editors proposes an article on ‘the 45-minute orgasm’.
- A lesbian restaurant has some suggestive artwork on the walls.
- Mary’s daughter Molly asks Sylvie when she first had sex. Sylvie answers ‘30’, then honestly talks about how her first time was awful.
- At a retreat, Mary meets another woman who states that she always fakes her orgasms.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in this movie. For example:
- During a women’s committee lunch, all the guests are seen drinking champagne. No one is drunk.
- When asked how she manages to stay on top of all her roles, Mary replies ‘by using pharmaceuticals’.
- While at the lingerie shop, Crystal is seen in her underwear sipping champagne.
- Sylvie finds Mary’s young daughter, Molly, with cigarettes.
- At a retreat, Mary and another guest smoke marijuana.
- At Mary’s fashion launch, the guests drink champagne.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example:
- Mary and Crystal are seen trying on underwear in a shop. Crystal is shown to readjust her breast within a corset.
- Crystal is shown taking a bubble bath, but is completely covered by foam.
The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Cartier, Prada, Rodriguez, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Chanel, Dove, Saks.
This movie contains some mild to medium-level coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Women is a light-hearted comedy about the friendship between four well-to-do New Yorkers, and the struggles and choices of modern-day women. Younger children might find the content and dialogue of the movie uninteresting. Older girls may enjoy the fashion and settings of the movie. They might also relate to the plight of the ‘tweenie’ character.
You might wish to discuss the values touched on in this movie including the values of trust, loyalty and love in friendships, as well as accepting yourself for the way you are. This movie could also give you the chance to discuss with your children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:
- body image issues and dieting
- teenage sex and sexuality
- smoking and alcohol use
- gossiping and name-calling
- being selfish and not considering others.