Saturday, 11 August 2007


I watched the 2004 film version of The Stepford Wives on television last night, starring Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Glenn Close. Unlike either the book or original film it was not intended to send shivers down the spine but was instead a rather poor comedy, and I recall that film critics voted it a miss at the time of its release. It does share one ingredient with the originals, however, and that is that there is clearly no home in Stepford for a divorce lawyer.

In the original film, men were mobilised by the fear of women abandoning the traditional home-making role for the workplace. In this version it is the high-flying career women who have been recaptured by their inferior lesser halves and turned into beautiful, obedient, robotic versions of themselves, happy to do the most mundane of tasks at the push of a remote control button. It is described as a world of “romance and beauty…tuxedo and chiffon” where men who are sick of the increasingly hectic lifestyle of their shoulder-padded spouses have found a different solution to divorce: the magic box, from which their wife emerges as a brainless blonde trained only to dispense money from her mouth like an ATM, bake cakes and parade in supermarket aisles. “The women are perfect sex-kitten bimbos; the men are drooling nerds.”

To be honest I would have dismissed the film as a waste of my time and given up watching, save for the fact that in fairness it did have some clever lines, which if I caught them correctly included:

Husband: “We are in the country now, so no more black.”
Wife: “ No more black? Are you insane?”
Husband: “ You heard me. Only high-powered, neurotic, castrating Manhattan career bitches wear black. Is that what you want to be?”
Wife: “Ever since I was a little girl.”

Husband: ”Did you make the sandwiches?”
Wife: “No, I was finishing the last chapter, did you?”
Husband: “Where are the kids”
Wife: “What kids?”
Neighbour: “Are you two okay”
Couple: “Yes, we’re just married”

My favourite: “The women are always busy and smiling; the men are always happy. It’s not normal”

There is a twist at the end, when it is revealed that the whole thing was actually created by a woman; a former brain surgeon who after finding her husband in the arms of another woman (and an ugly one at that) had killed them both and essentially created a robotic replacement and Stepford. She claimed in pride to have turned the clock back to a time before stress and overtime.

Some words of advice- if you’re suffering from stress and overtime in your marriage: patch it up; see a divorce solicitor, if you have to; don’t visit Stepford.

1 comment:

Sam Hasler said...

Rather good. You nailed the first quote about wearing black in the country. Got to admit I did not watch it closely enough to catch the other quotes. Between you and my wife, I might just reach the point where I can tolerate the movie.