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A Good Woman (PG)

Release Date: February 3rd, 2006 by Lions Gate Films.
The Cast: Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Umbers, Stephen Campbell Moore, Roger Hammond, Tom Wikinson, Milena Vukotic, John Standing.
Directed by Mike Barker.

BASIC PREMISE: In Italy during the 1930ís, Meg (Johannson) suspects her husband Robert (Umbers) is having an affair with Mrs.Erlynne (Hunt).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: A Good Woman starts off promising, but slowly goes downhill with weak plot and character development. Mrs.Erlynne moves to the picturesque Amalfi coast of Italy, where she flirts with Robert, a good-looking, wealthy, and married man. She playfully says to him that buying jewelry as a gift should only be for his mistress. It turns out that Mrs.Erlynne has a special surprise regarding her relationship to his wife Meg. Little does Meg know about his new friend until their relationship becomes the talk of the town thanks to the Duchess of Berwick (Vukotic) This Duchess loves gossipóshe loves looking through her binoculars and always has something to say about everyone. Somebody asks her to mind her own business, but, with plenty of wit, she replies that the business of others is much more interesting than her own life. Tom Wilkinson gives a strong performance as Tuppy, a three-times-divorced man who tries to woo and even marry Mrs.Erlynne. Heís the only truly likeable and interesting character, but his scenes are too brief. Darlington (Moore) comforts Meg while her husband is away. The problem is that nobody really has chemistry with anyone else. Meg and Robert donít seem like a real married coupleóMeg looks way too young for him. Likewise, itís difficult to believe that anyone can easily fall for Mrs.Erlynne because she simple has no charm. Helen Hunt seems slightly uncomfortable in her role. The only lively and charming characters are the gossipy townspeople, especially the Duchess of Berwick. Screenwriter Howard Himelstein manages to bring some well-needed moments of witty humor, but fails to give the plot enough tension to hold your interest. Mrs.Erlynneís big secret could have been taken to a much more intense, suspenseful level, but, unfortunately, it never really feels like a big deal. Even the third act feels rushed and awkward, much like a soap opera. On a positive note, the breathtaking, intricate costume designs make each actor look great in every scene. The cinematography is also quite impressive along with the set design.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: When greed is in the way, itís a little difficult to find your true love in life. Those who chase others just for their wealth often end up lonely and unhappy, like Mrs.Erlynne. You should make sure to hold on tightly to your true love because, like the Beatles say, love is all there is.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Weak plot, poor character development, and a contrived ending.


IN A NUTSHELL: Terrific costume designs in picturesque locations, but, despite occasional witty dialogue, the story feels weak with poor character development. Helen Hunt looks uncomfortably miscast.

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