Other Woman [Blu-ray]
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101 of 113 people found the following review helpful
THE OTHER WOMAN is a film that is a bit difficult to watch both because of the thematic material and because of the uneven quality of the film itself. Based on the novel LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS by Ayelet Waldman (the original release of this film in 2009 used this title) and adapted for the screen by writer/director Don Roos, the story deals with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), divorce, step-parenting, the legal vagaries that surround divorce and remarriage, and loss. One of the reasons the film didn't make it on first theater release is that it was advertised as 'A comedy/drama that details the story of a woman's difficult relationship with her stepson.' Yes, that is a small part of the story, but this film is hardly a comedy and in fact it seems to have difficulty in deciding just what the main story is!

The opening credits begin with images of an infant girl but as soon as the action begins we are introduced to Emilia (Natalie Portman) and her husband Jack (Scott Cohen) and son William (Charlie Tahan) There is an undefined tension that is soon explained through flashbacks: Emilia fell in love with Jack who was married to OB/GYN physician Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow) and the love affair quickly developed into Jack's divorcing Carolyne and marrying Emilia. The newlyweds promptly had a baby girl who lived only three days, leaving Emilia in a prolonged state of grieving and denial. Carolyne is a controlling viper and makes the couple's life miserable, refusing complete visitation privileges with William, creating a toxic relationship between Emilia and her 'stepson' William. Emilia's friends (Lauren Ambrose and Anthony Rapp) try to make Emilia's life easier but the friction between Emilia and William as well as the constant interference by Carolyne eventually lead to a collapse in Emilia's and Jack's relationship. Some 'truths' come out about the death of Jack an Emilia's daughter and the response to those statements changes everyone in the story - including Emilia's divorced mother and father. Lessons in how to forgive and how to love complete the story.

Natalie Portman proves her acting chops in this difficult, multidimensional role and her performance is enhanced by that of Charlie Tahan as the young William. The rest of the cast is not of the same caliber, failing to make us care about their characters enough to find their significance in this rocky script. Though there are many flaws in the film making it seem to drag on too long (almost two hours), the opportunity to see the gradual growth of the acting career of Natalie Portman is reason enough to watch this little New York relationship drama. Grady Harp, April 11
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2011
Can you love someone's son after you lost your daughter? Emilia's (Portman) relationship with her husbands son is strained after the death of thier 3 day old daughter. To make matters worse his ex wife (Kudrow) is doing her best to turn the son against her. This is a very heartbreaking movie to watch and it is a little difficult to make it through. Much more devastating then "Rabbit Hole". Portman is incredible in this and actually should have won the Oscar for this and not "Black Swan" (though she did deserve it). Although this is a very hard movie to get through it is entirely worth it and you will be glad you watched it. This is not a typical Hollywood movie and that's why it is so good. Very heart-wrenching and moving. It will make you examine your life to decide what is important. When you watch this make sure you don't have plans after, it will bring you down, though the ending is a little uplifting. I really enjoyed this movie, much more then I thought I would. I give it an A.

Would I watch again? - I might, but it would be tough.

*Also try - Rabbit Hole & Step Mom
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Being well intentioned doesn't always translate to being great. As Don Roos' "The Other Woman" deals with a sensitive and painful subject, it may seem easy to overlook all the chaotic and unconvincing elements of the film. I'm a Roos fan. He won me over with the eccentric, but hysterical, "The Opposite of Sex" and the charming, but flawed, "Happy Endings." So I was eager to jump into his more serious side with this film. There are some lovely successes within the movie, but there are just as many moments that don't connect. Ultimately, I found the movie to be frustrating. I wanted to love it, I just didn't. A big portion of the film would merit 5 stars as noted below, but the picture never comes together as a cohesive whole.

Centered around Natalie Portman, the film chronicles a family tale of grief and perseverance. Portman is generally unsympathetic as she blithely enters into an affair with a married man (Scott Cohen), becomes pregnant, breaks up his marriage and weds him herself, and then loses the baby. Reeling from the aftermath of this tragedy, she still tries to hold the relationship together and forge a bond with her difficult stepson. I loved Portman's every day persona and the fact that Roos didn't attempt to make her the lovable heroine. Her character played as a complex and real person, and so the grief scenes had much more poignancy. Her budding friendship with stepson Charlie Tahan is easily the most convincing, multi-layered, and fascinating part of the movie. Both actors play off each other exceedingly well--and the interplay is refreshingly free of cliche. As the heart of the movie, this aspect really works.

But in the peripheral details, the film starts to go a bit south. Lisa Kudrow (a Roos staple) is underserved as a screechy, horrendous harridan. She is the woman scorned and Tahan's real mother, but her heightened over-the-top performance lacks subtlety and believability. The screenplay just doesn't support this woman as a real person. In fact, it borders on downright painful as if she mirrored her vocal patterns to imitate the Wicked Witch. Portman has two co-workers that seem significant, but are completely undeveloped. The chemistry between Portman and Cohen is minimal at best--they fly into an affair without even a noticeable flirtation. The movie never asks us to deal with the fact that Portman is really an ethically ambiguous character (bordering on unkind). I guess we're supposed to accept this moral defect (or simple indifference, it would appear most times) as her having the requisite "daddy issues"--another subplot that is not handled with much grace or subtlety.

But still, when the movie works--it works. And Portman and Tahan score big in their scenes together. I'm glad that this film struck an emotional chord with audiences relating to the grief of a mother losing her child. It's a difficult subject handled with some dignity here. But these moments of raw power were overshadowed, for me, by many of the issues listed above. A nice effort that works despite its limitations, this was about 3 1/2 stars for my taste--but in this case, I'll round up for good intentions. KGHarris, 5/11.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
Emilia is a young lawyer from a prominent New York City family. Her father was a judge and her mother is genuinely devoted to her daughters and their families. From the very start of her promising career (Emilia is an Ivy League School Graduate), Emilia chooses to get involved with her married boss. There is very little that we know about his character and professional abilities, other that he is a partner in the law firm they both work at and he is handome middle-aged , well-to-do man. Eventially, the two end up getting married together to a great resentment of Jack's ex-wife and even his young son. But in spite of initial passion between the two, Emilia's youth and cleverness, there is a tension in this young marriage because, as we slowly learn it, Jack and Emilia have lost their newly born daughter Isabella to SIDS and that event seems to spiral everything down. In her grief over the loss of her daughter, Emilia takes no prisoners and she lashes out on anyone around her: her immediate family, husband and her friends.

This movie is an inetresting exploration about marriage and parental grief. But, it is not by any means a match to a movie "Rabbit Hole" that seems much more genuine in its raw emotion.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2011
I came across this movie by accident and I almost didn't watch it when I saw that it was considered a comedy/drama. That is incorrect. This movie is not a comedy. It acutally dealt with some very serious issues. There is no humor in infidelity, divorce, dysfunctional relationships,and most of all, the death of a child. This movie has all of that and than some. I won't give a review of what it was about, others have already done that. But I will say that it's a very real movie, filled with some intense emotions that a few time had me on the verge of tears. I think for those of us who have lost a child, this movie hits home and heart. My nephew only lived for one day, 26 years ago, and as she floated her waffer in the water after the memorial walk, I wished that I was there to float one for Anthony.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Being well intentioned doesn't always translate to being great. As Don Roos' "The Other Woman" deals with a sensitive and painful subject, it may seem easy to overlook all the chaotic and unconvincing elements of the film. I'm a Roos fan. He won me over with the eccentric, but hysterical, "The Opposite of Sex" and the charming, but flawed, "Happy Endings." So I was eager to jump into his more serious side with this film. There are some lovely successes within the movie, but there are just as many moments that don't connect. Ultimately, I found the movie to be frustrating. I wanted to love it, I just didn't. A big portion of the film would merit 5 stars as noted below, but the picture never comes together as a cohesive whole.

Centered around Natalie Portman, the film chronicles a family tale of grief and perseverance. Portman is generally unsympathetic as she blithely enters into an affair with a married man (Scott Cohen), becomes pregnant, breaks up his marriage and weds him herself, and then loses the baby. Reeling from the aftermath of this tragedy, she still tries to hold the relationship together and forge a bond with her difficult stepson. I loved Portman's every day persona and the fact that Roos didn't attempt to make her the lovable heroine. Her character played as a complex and real person, and so the grief scenes had much more poignancy. Her budding friendship with stepson Charlie Tahan is easily the most convincing, multi-layered, and fascinating part of the movie. Both actors play off each other exceedingly well--and the interplay is refreshingly free of cliche. As the heart of the movie, this aspect really works.

But in the peripheral details, the film starts to go a bit south. Lisa Kudrow (a Roos staple) is underserved as a screechy, horrendous harridan. She is the woman scorned and Tahan's real mother, but her heightened over-the-top performance lacks subtlety and believability. The screenplay just doesn't support this woman as a real person. In fact, it borders on downright painful as if she mirrored her vocal patterns to imitate the Wicked Witch. Portman has two co-workers that seem significant, but are completely undeveloped. The chemistry between Portman and Cohen is minimal at best--they fly into an affair without even a noticeable flirtation. The movie never asks us to deal with the fact that Portman is really an ethically ambiguous character (bordering on unkind). I guess we're supposed to accept this moral defect (or simple indifference, it would appear most times) as her having the requisite "daddy issues"--another subplot that is not handled with much grace or subtlety.

But still, when the movie works--it works. And Portman and Tahan score big in their scenes together. I'm glad that this film struck an emotional chord with audiences relating to the grief of a mother losing her child. It's a difficult subject handled with some dignity here. But these moments of raw power were overshadowed, for me, by many of the issues listed above. A nice effort that works despite its limitations, this was about 3 1/2 stars for my taste--but in this case, I'll round up for good intentions. KGHarris, 5/11.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
This was probably one of the worst movies I have seen this year. As depressing as its themes, it was so bad, it actually made me laugh several times. The themes of the movie are heavy, but the way in which the themes are handled is so far from real life and real people, that it's hard to find this movie depressing. I must also admit that I had to give up on the movie at a certain point, because I could not take a single more second, so my review is somewhat limited to what I actually could bear to watch.

First of all, the divorce between the male lead and his wife and his remarriage all seem to happen within a few short months. Umm, yeah. A partner in a law firm and a doctor wife: extremely doubtful even under amicable terms -- and this was no friendly parting.

Second, as with most Hollywood films, the romantic relationship is given short shrift. We have no idea why these people are in love. Lust? Yes - it's the typical young girl/older man with power dynamic. But we are never shown how these people came to love each other. The relationship is completely unbelievable.

Third, the relationship between the stepchild and the woman who broke up his parents' marriage is patently absurd. The somewhat older child, who is maybe 10 years old, seems to instantly bond with Portman after a putting up a weak and quick-lived resistance. He even seems to side with her against the ex-wife at certain points. Again, completely unrealistic.

In addition, the ex-wife is portrayed as a cold bitch, when she is probably the only sympathetic character in the whole movie. However, even her character is completely unrealistic. She has an extremely sharp tongue towards Portman, obviously justifiably so, and yet is willing to go out of her way to help her in the end.

The way Portman's parents embrace the husband she stole from another woman is yet another in a long line of absurdities. In fact, no one in the whole movie seems to have a problem with the 20 something Portman having an affair with a 40 something partner in the law firm and causing the breakup of his marriage. No judgments except from the ex-wife, who is portrayed as in the wrong somehow.

This is yet another movie inexplicably written by human beings, who have no idea what real human turmoil, emotions, relationships, or experiences are like. A computer would have done a better job at depicting the characters and situations involved in this film.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm sick of dramas that portray family life with the same Hollywood cliches. In that respect, The Other Woman is a relief. Natalie Portman plays a young lawyer who has an affair with and eventually marries an older partner. She inherits his son William, who is somewhat difficult to get along with to say the least. What I really appreciate is that the movie doesn't shy away from presenting a messy, complicated - and realistic - family life. None of the characters are perfect, but none of them are wholly evil either. There are no villains or heros. Natalie Portman's acting is spot on, with a mix of emotional wreck and sassiness. Charlie Tahan also does a great job with William as the aloof but lovable child. I don't usually go for these types of dramas, but this one is executed well enough to make it worth checking out.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 22, 2012
This was a slice of life that isn't generally shown in the movies. That makes it interesting, but I didn't think it was very well done because you could see the acting. Things felt scripted, neat, and formulaic. The attention paid to serious issues was scant when they are actually pretty deep things that deserved exploration. It felt very much like a surface treatment.

I thought Kudrow's character was written a bit unrealistically, but she did an excellent job with what she was given.

If you are interested in seeing a realistic view of what it might be like to be the other woman, this could be it. I didn't find it particularly entertaining, enlightening or moving, but it was okay. Different strokes for different folks.
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on January 27, 2014
Director Don Roos (Happy Endings) and actress Natalie Portman (Black Swan) turn to Ayelet Waldman's novel for a fresh take on the other-woman melodrama.

In adapting Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Roos starts after the affair and the marriage between 2 well-heeled New Yorkers, but there's no happily ever after for Emilia (Natalie Portman), a legal associate, and Jack (Scott Cohen), an attorney, because their baby succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome.

Through an extended flashback, Roos fills in their story. Now their lives revolve around his sensitive 8-year-old son, William (Charlie Tahan), with his chilly ex-wife, Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow). If Emilia has trouble dealing with the loss, William has no such qualms, and can't understand her inability to move on. Then again, every time Emilia thinks she's made a breakthrough with the lad, something goes wrong, leading him to declare, "You're not sophisticated like me and my mom."

Fortunately, Emilia has her mother (Debra Monk), sister (Elizabeth Marvel), and friends (Lauren Ambrose & Anthony Rapp) for support, though they're no match for Carolyne, whose resentment of Emilia would be more understandable if the screenplay didn't make her so unlikable--but she does get to reveal a flicker of humanity towards the end.

Still, this is Portman's show, and she's very good in depicting the various stages of Emilia's grief, particularly in her scenes with Tahan. If "The Other Woman" lacks the director's customary humor, that adds to the sweetness of the resolution.
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