8 Women (2002)

I've seen only another film by François Ozon, Young & Beautiful, and I did not like it. So when I saw 8 Women on a best foreign language Christmas movies list, I gotta say I was reluctant but gave it a chance anyway. 

It's set in France in the 1950s. A family gathers to celebrate Christmas in an isolated cottage in the snowy countryside only to find that Marcel (Dominique Lamure), the family patriarch, has been murdered. Eight women are his potential murder: his wife, Gaby (Catherine Deneuve); their two daughters, Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen) and Catherine (Ludivine Sagnier); Gaby's sister, Augustine (Isabelle Huppert), and mother (Danielle Darrieux); Marcel's sister, Pierette (Fanny Ardant); the cook, Chanel (Firmine Richard), and the new maid, Louise (Emmanuelle Béart). 

Although the plot is kinda basic and reminded me a lot of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, it manages to be pretty complex thanks to its many twists (many is a little reductive though) that will keep you interested throughout the entire film.

However, 8 Women is much more than a mystery murder film. It explores female psyche with its 8 wonderful female characters. Each woman has their own personality and characteristic that make them stand out and make the film more interesting. Also, I did appreciate Ozon's choice to let us know how the characters feel by letting them sing. It kinda feels like a musical because of that (the characters are aware of what they are doing. I mean, they know they are singing and dancing out of nowhere) but some of the numbers were nice and fun to watch. Some, on the other hand, were quite dreadful.

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The cast plays the biggest role here. The eight women (and the man whose face is never seen and never speaks) all deliver beautiful performances, and each actress fits the role. There was one standing out though, Isabelle Huppert, of course. She is delightful as the neurotic, embittered spinster. She is a little over-the-top, but she's the one who delivers most of the laughter in the film.

If you don't speak French, you may have some problems following the dialogue. French people talk pretty fast (that's where I took it from I guess, thanks mom) and you need to concentrate to not lose pieces.

That said, 8 Women is a funny, quirky film that won't fail to entertain you.


  1. I remember when this came out and wanted to see it. It sounds like the board game Clue also. I think it sounds engaging but I would need subtitles. Great to have Danielle Darrieux showcased since she passed away this year at, I believe 101.

    1. Now that you mentioned it, yes, it's kinda like Clue. Darrieux wasn't 101 yet, but she was getting close to it.