The Other Woman Reviews

The Other Woman

Academy Award winner Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) in an “utterly fearless performance” (Rob Nelson, Variety) stars as a newlywed trying to cope with guilt and loss in this sensitive and compelling modern drama adapted by writer-director Don Roos (“The Opposite of Sex”) from the novel by Ayelet Waldman. Portman plays Emilia, a law-school graduate who falls in love with her married boss, Jack (Scott Cohen, “The Understudy”). After Emilia marries Jack, her happiness turns unexpectedly to grief following the death of her infant daughter. Devastated, Emilia nonetheless carries on, attempting to forge a connection with her stepson William (Charlie Tahan, “I Am Legend”) and to resist the interference of Jack’s jealous ex-wife (Lisa Kudrow, “Easy A,” “The Opposite of Sex”). Don Roos (“Happy Endings,” “Bounce”) demonstrates his keen eye for the nuances of love, loss, and rebuilding life in this heartfelt and touching drama.Director Don Roos (Happy Endings) and actress Natalie Portman (Black S

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3 thoughts on “The Other Woman Reviews

  1. 8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    An Ambitious Family Drama That Ultimately Succeeds Despite A Lack Of Subtlety, May 20, 2011
    By 
    K. Harris “Film aficionado” (Albuquerque, NM) –
      

      

    This review is from: Other Woman [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)

    Being well intentioned doesn’t always translate to being great. As Don Roos’ “The Other Woman” deals with a sensitive and painful subject, it may seem easy to overlook all the chaotic and unconvincing elements of the film. I’m a Roos fan. He won me over with the eccentric, but hysterical, “The Opposite of Sex” and the charming, but flawed, “Happy Endings.” So I was eager to jump into his more serious side with this film. There are some lovely successes within the movie, but there are just as many moments that don’t connect. Ultimately, I found the movie to be frustrating. I wanted to love it, I just didn’t. A big portion of the film would merit 5 stars as noted below, but the picture never comes together as a cohesive whole.

    Centered around Natalie Portman, the film chronicles a family tale of grief and perseverance. Portman is generally unsympathetic as she blithely enters into an affair with a married man (Scott Cohen), becomes pregnant, breaks up his marriage and weds him herself, and then loses the baby. Reeling from the aftermath of this tragedy, she still tries to hold the relationship together and forge a bond with her difficult stepson. I loved Portman’s every day persona and the fact that Roos didn’t attempt to make her the lovable heroine. Her character played as a complex and real person, and so the grief scenes had much more poignancy. Her budding friendship with stepson Charlie Tahan is easily the most convincing, multi-layered, and fascinating part of the movie. Both actors play off each other exceedingly well–and the interplay is refreshingly free of cliche. As the heart of the movie, this aspect really works.

    But in the peripheral details, the film starts to go a bit south. Lisa Kudrow (a Roos staple) is underserved as a screechy, horrendous harridan. She is the woman scorned and Tahan’s real mother, but her heightened over-the-top performance lacks subtlety and believability. The screenplay just doesn’t support this woman as a real person. In fact, it borders on downright painful as if she mirrored her vocal patterns to imitate the Wicked Witch. Portman has two co-workers that seem significant, but are completely undeveloped. The chemistry between Portman and Cohen is minimal at best–they fly into an affair without even a noticeable flirtation. The movie never asks us to deal with the fact that Portman is really an ethically ambiguous character (bordering on unkind). I guess we’re supposed to accept this moral defect (or simple indifference, it would appear most times) as her having the requisite “daddy issues”–another subplot that is not handled with much grace or subtlety.

    But still, when the movie works–it works. And Portman and Tahan score big in their scenes together. I’m glad that this film struck an emotional chord with audiences relating to the grief of a mother losing her child. It’s a difficult subject handled with some dignity here. But these moments of raw power were overshadowed, for me, by many of the issues listed above. A nice effort that works despite its limitations, this was about 3 1/2 stars for my taste–but in this case, I’ll round up for good intentions. KGHarris, 5/11.

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  2. 16 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Very moving and somewhat inspiring story about a mother’s loss and the fight to recover. Great acting, great movie, I say A, May 16, 2011
    By 
    Tony Heck “Follow me on Twitter!!! – @panther… (Belgrade, MT USA) –

    This review is from: The Other Woman (DVD)

    Can you love someone’s son after you lost your daughter? Emilia’s (Portman) relationship with her husbands son is strained after the death of thier 3 day old daughter. To make matters worse his ex wife (Kudrow) is doing her best to turn the son against her. This is a very heartbreaking movie to watch and it is a little difficult to make it through. Much more devastating then “Rabbit Hole”. Portman is incredible in this and actually should have won the Oscar for this and not “Black Swan” (though she did deserve it). Although this is a very hard movie to get through it is entirely worth it and you will be glad you watched it. This is not a typical Hollywood movie and that’s why it is so good. Very heart-wrenching and moving. It will make you examine your life to decide what is important. When you watch this make sure you don’t have plans after, it will bring you down, though the ending is a little uplifting. I really enjoyed this movie, much more then I thought I would. I give it an A.

    Would I watch again? – I might, but it would be tough.

    *Also try – Rabbit Hole & Step Mom

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  3. 60 of 70 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Growth of Natalie Portman, April 20, 2011
    By 
    Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) –
      

      

      

    This review is from: The Other Woman (DVD)

    THE OTHER WOMAN is a film that is a bit difficult to watch both because of the thematic material and because of the uneven quality of the film itself. Based on the novel LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS by Ayelet Waldman (the original release of this film in 2009 used this title) and adapted for the screen by writer/director Don Roos, the story deals with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), divorce, step-parenting, the legal vagaries that surround divorce and remarriage, and loss. One of the reasons the film didn’t make it on first theater release is that it was advertised as ‘A comedy/drama that details the story of a woman’s difficult relationship with her stepson.’ Yes, that is a small part of the story, but this film is hardly a comedy and in fact it seems to have difficulty in deciding just what the main story is!

    The opening credits begin with images of an infant girl but as soon as the action begins we are introduced to Emilia (Natalie Portman) and her husband Jack (Scott Cohen) and son William (Charlie Tahan) There is an undefined tension that is soon explained through flashbacks: Emilia fell in love with Jack who was married to OB/GYN physician Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow) and the love affair quickly developed into Jack’s divorcing Carolyne and marrying Emilia. The newlyweds promptly had a baby girl who lived only three days, leaving Emilia in a prolonged state of grieving and denial. Carolyne is a controlling viper and makes the couple’s life miserable, refusing complete visitation privileges with William, creating a toxic relationship between Emilia and her ‘stepson’ William. Emilia’s friends (Lauren Ambrose and Anthony Rapp) try to make Emilia’s life easier but the friction between Emilia and William as well as the constant interference by Carolyne eventually lead to a collapse in Emilia’s and Jack’s relationship. Some ‘truths’ come out about the death of Jack an Emilia’s daughter and the response to those statements changes everyone in the story – including Emilia’s divorced mother and father. Lessons in how to forgive and how to love complete the story.

    Natalie Portman proves her acting chops in this difficult, multidimensional role and her performance is enhanced by that of Charlie Tahan as the young William. The rest of the cast is not of the same caliber, failing to make us care about their characters enough to find their significance in this rocky script. Though there are many flaws in the film making it seem to drag on too long (almost two hours), the opportunity to see the gradual growth of the acting career of Natalie Portman is reason enough to watch this little New York relationship drama. Grady Harp, April 11

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