Release Date
February 3, 2006
Director
Mike Barker
Screenplay
Howard Himelstein
Based On A Play By
Oscar Wilde
Distributed By
LionsGate Entertainment
Drama, Comedy, Romance
Rated PG for thematic material, sensuality and language
93 minutes

A Good Woman

When it comes to adapting the work of such a famous writer like Oscar Wilde, almost any director will fall into some difficulties in portraying such vivid storytelling, especially in re-envisioning the wildly popular play “A Good Woman”. Mike Barker’s adaptation is both wonderfully cast and wrongfully cast in many instances, as is it often acceptably portrayed and mistakenly portrayed on several occasions. Helen Hunt as Mrs. Erlynne tends to feel a bit miscast. While Hunt is normally a strong and insightful actress, her performance here is muddled, never possessing the femme fatale factor needed to carry her sexuality to the level it needs to be. Instead, she often appears unsure of herself, a choice she makes, but ultimately squanders any sexual undertones surrounding her role.

On the other hand, Tom Wilkinson is expertly cast as Tuppy, who embodies his prestige with a vigor all his own, regularly stealing the show and becoming the highlight of the last half of the film. Scarlett Johansson, neither strongly nor badly casted, does carry the naivety needed to successfully delineate the role of Meg and even surprises on occasion. If you’ve never experienced Wilde’s play, as I had not, the film does well to hide many of the story’s secrets and produces a mix between great revelations and poor conclusions. Overall, “A Good Woman” rides the borderline between a good adaptation and a misguided one, presenting Wilkinson and Johansson in enough of a favorable light to make the film worth it, but with no expectations of being a favorite.

 

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