I was in the mood for a romantic comedy, something to make me giggle and at the same time to make me feel. What I came out with was a bit less romance, a bit less comedy, but a whole lot of feeling. A Good Woman, starring Helen Hunt, based on Oscar Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan.
I watched the film online at NetFlix, and I was pleasantly surprised. You can read the plot summary and so forth at NetFlix or Amazon or IMDb or wherever. My reaction: The deep characters enthralled me, especially Helen Hunt’s character, who lives a conflicted life without regrets–if you can believe that–and who is immediately sympathetic, despite her nefarious reputation. The complex character-driven storyline kept me on the edge of my seat, literally. At one point in the film, I jumped from my seat, angry at one of the antagonists, a wimpy, red-headed prig, with a little dog she obviously loves more than she loves other people– I jumped from my seat in anger, certain she was going to hell. Everything came together in the penultimate scene, which set up a resolution I did not see coming. This is a story about love, trust, gossip, and the nature of truth.
Note that Helen Hunt plays a different kind of character in this film, one that not everyone may find enjoyable. And some of the characters are weak, thrown in for comedic effect, which unfortunately doesn’t always work. And if the critics are right, you might enjoy Oscar Wilde’s original play more, but you can’t get that from NetFlix or Amazon.
Bottom line: There is only a handful of films that have enthralled me as A Good Woman has. Despite the critics’ balking, 93 minutes well-spent. I rate it 5 stars out of 5, because not only did I love watching it, I feel like I want to watch it again as soon as possible.
A word about my rating system: I use a variant of the Netflix rating system.
1 star = I hated it. This is not necessarily bad, because it means it inspired fierce emotion in me. Negative emotion, yes, but emotion nonetheless.
2 stars = I didn’t like it. Also didn’t hate it. The only thing worse than being hated is finding out that no one gives a damn.
3 stars = I liked it, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again.
4 stars = I really liked it, and I would watch it again.
5 stars = I loved it, and I want to watch it again and again and again.