Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Like the recent HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT, this is another one 
of those "you go girl" films; that harmless subgenre of "chick 
flicks" in which a group of women gather to piss and moan about the 
stupid men in their lives, while never acknowledging that *they* 
are the stupid ones for having stayed with them.  The message of 
"needing a man to make me happy" is inappropriate, sure, but no 
worse than, say, the legions of big-gun testosterone poisoners that 
teach violence as a method of problem-solving.

Even as a feminist fantasy, WAITING TO EXHALE is tremendously 
watchable.  Director Forrest Whitaker, making his feature-film 
debut, evokes genuine emotion from this stellar cast of leading 
ladies.  Standout sequences include a hilariously frank sex scene 
and the early show-stopper of Angela Bassett torching her hubby's 
BMW.  You go girl!  Equally engaging are the *male* roles; a parade 
of liars and cheats that could rival the entire rogues gallery of 
any DIE HARD, James Bond, or Batman movie.

Writers Roland Bass and Terry McMillian (from his novel) deliver a 
staggering number of mixed messages.  Only one of the characters 
(Loretta Devine) consistently acts responsible, and she's the 
least-glamorous of the lot.  More women are likely to identify with 
Bassett's character, a devoted wife whose husband has left her for 
a younger, whiter woman.  How does she react?  By having a "quick 
one" herself.  Sigh.  Ladies, go and enjoy this movie.  Laugh, cry, 
and talk back to the screen.  Get your catharsis and then go pay a 
counselor for some *real* advice. (Rated "R"/124 min.)

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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