Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn are three wonderful actresses and this movie features an all-star ensemble of the nineties and actors who would grow further in their career over the decades. The First Wives Club tells you not to get even but to get everything.
The husbands are, much like everyone else, played by established actors Victor Garber, Dan Hedaya, and Stephen Collins and each of them have left their first wives for new, younger models played by Elizabeth Berkley, Marcia Gay Harden, and Sarah Jessica Parker (who worked with Midler just a few years prior in Hocus Pocus). Their lives are plagued by this seemingly rash, abrupt decision as it was predicated by the suicide of their friend (played by Stockard Channing in a bit role) who was betrayed and abandoned by her husband.
Add in a little bit of Dame Maggie Smith, Heather Locklear, and a young Timothy Olyphant and you have yourself a smash that has withstood the test of time.
The plot of the movie is the three wives Annie (Keaton), Brenda (Midler), and Elise (Hawn) deciding to get back at their husbands for their betrayal and destroy everything that they have ever dreamed of having. While possibly a little insane, this is a film and it’s absolutely hilarious. In true comedy fashion the women put their husbands through the ringer, but the emotional toll of it all is a heavy one and as they go on they begin to question whether or not this will make anything better.
I have often said that a movie is only as good as its characters, often times its extensive supporting cast which can serve to make the main characters feel more real than they are. The First Wives Club focuses on its main characters, as a film and television series should do, but the supporting cast is there to help them feel like well-rounded characters with actual lives that are being thrown into upheaval by their husbands leaving them.
The chemistry between the characters is palpable. You can feel the strain in their relationships with one another before things even start to blow up in their faces. These aren’t old friends who got back together and all of a sudden became great friends again. These are old friends who drifted apart over the years and came back together something fierce because of a tragedy, but the reasons they drifted still remain. It is rare for a film to not take shortcuts, and I’m truly glad that this one showcases just how difficult it is to reclaim a friendship after it has drifted.
The First Wives Club is a beautiful movie, and while you may have already seen it, it’s time to see it again!