Adapted from the Oscar Wilde play “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” director Mike Barker adapts ‘A Good Woman‘ from a screenplay by Howard Himelstein. Lionsgate released the film to the United States in 2006.
Mrs. Stella Erlynne (Helen Hunt) flees New York City to Amalfi, Italy after the man she’s having an affair with cuts her off. She meets Robert Windermere (Mark Umbers) who has recently married Meg (Scarlett Johansson). Local woman Contessa Lucchino (Milena Vukotic) spots Rob going into Stella’s apartment, causing a stir of gossip. As Meg’s birthday approaches, Rob’s friend Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore) develops a friendship and crush on the young wife and develops genuine concern for her well-being, even as Stella starts to pay attention to the wealthy Lord Augustus (Tom Wilkinson).
The movie is shot like a movie, with excellent cinematography from Ben Seresin, who does a good job with all the shots, especially the birthday party scene. That being said, they recorded the dialogue like a stageplay. It is overly dramatic and makes it seem melodramatic. That is not to say that it is not clever, but the way the actors enunciated felt odd and out-of-place.
Now, much of the dialogue and conversation were adapted from Oscar Wilde’s play. As a playwright, he was a literary genius and I feel like the Barker tried to keep the dialogue it was on stage, not realizing that film and play are two very different mediums. Perhaps, that is where the disconnect happened.
That is not to say that the acting is not good. Scarlett Johanssen was particularly excellent in this film. It is so different from the roles she usually plays that I just had to give her praise for the talent shows. Helen Hunt was also excellent as Stella and truly personified the character as did Stephen Campbell Moore as Lord Darlington.
I feel compelled to mention that the movie is entertaining and the characters are all incredibly interesting. I enjoyed watching the story and the chemistry between the actors as they converse, even if I felt that dialogue was unusual.
Bottom line, A Good Woman does render its dialogue in a peculiar way, but it is still an entertaining and interesting story with lots of fantastic performances from the cast who bring the plot to its fullest.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Thematic elements, Sexual innuendo, Minor foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Well, if we’re always guided by other people’s thoughts what’s the point of having our own?
Check out the trailer below:
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This article has been updated from a previous version.