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Waiting to Exhale

258 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett star in this funny and touching film about four women who find strength through their rare and special relationship. Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria are all searching for the Real Thing: true love. Bernadine thought she had it, until her husband left her for another woman. Savannah and Robin are successful in business but their love lives are bankrupt. And divorcee Gloria is getting back in the game by flirting with her new, very eligible neighbor. Based on Terry McMillan's best-selling novel, and featuring the #1 smash hit "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," "Waiting to Exhale" is the film you and your friends have been waiting for! Original score by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, Gregory Hines
  • Directors: Forest Whitaker
  • Writers: Ronald Bass, Terry McMillan
  • Producers: Caron K, Deborah Schindler, Ezra Swerdlow, Ronald Bass, Terry McMillan
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2001
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000ILEE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,153 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Waiting to Exhale" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By EriKa on September 13, 2001
Format: DVD
The first time I saw this film, several years ago, I was really annoyed by it. I wondered how I could relate to this film about adult, black women? I was a white teenage girl in the suburbs. Seeing Angela Bassett's character fight with her husband about his declaration of loving another woman, I did not have a clue how to relate to it. Not only had I never experienced any kind of mature, adult relationship, the racial issues that arise in their argument were completely foreign to me. The husband tells Bassett that he is in love with his secretary and is leaving Bassett for the secretary. Bassett angrily asks, "Is she white?" The husband asks, "Why? Would it be better if she were black?" Bassett retorts, "No, but it would be better if you were." However, when I saw it again when I got older, I found that the film was warm, funny, vengeful, true to life and universal. I guess this is the trick of making a film that features an almost all black cast. People who are not black might not see it because they feel like they are watching something outside their own experience, and yes, in many ways, like it or not, they are. However, the stories told here transgress a solely "black" experience and become a universally female experience. And even a human one. We all experience pain, loss, insecurity, self-doubt, and we turn to our friends to get through those times. Sometimes, as in the film, our friends lead totally different lifestyles from the ones we lead. The film actually portrays these women in a way that breaks stereotypes and focuses on how real people might deal with their real feelings. Or in the case of Angela Bassett setting her soon-to-be-ex-husband's car on fire in the driveway, well, maybe none of us would really do that, but I am sure we have all felt like it. Overall this was a well-acted, well-done film with universal themes.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By The Groove on September 29, 2002
Format: DVD
Depending on who you are, Terry McMillan's 1992 novel "Waiting to Exhale" is either a blessing or a dreaded curse. McMillan's third novel about four African American women struggling to attain stability, identity, and normalcy in Phoenix was praised in some circles for giving contemporary Black women a much-needed voice. But in other circles, mostly male, "Waiting to Exhale" was ripped to shreds as a spiteful and ungrounded damnation of Black men as philanderers, deadbeats, and no-good-dooers. It also made McMillan the biggest literary target of criticsm since Alice Walker unleashed her novel "the Color Purple." But whatever your take on the book is, the film adaptation won't likely change your stance, as it stays overall faithful to the book. Director Forest Whitaker does a respectable job bringing to life these characters: Savannah (Whitney Houston) is the buppie still in search for Mr. Right; Bernadine (Angela Bassett) just got dumped by her husband of 11 years for a white woman; Robin (Lela Rochon) is the ditzy bimbo still trying to shake off her no-good ex, and Gloria (Loretta Devine) is the full-figured owner of a successful hair salon. The best performances, hands down, are Bassett and Devine, who make the best impressions, and they help keep the film moving at a good pace. The script, co-written by McMillan, is crisp with enough funny one-liners and a story compelling enough to keep the viewer interested. But there are flaws. Whitney Houston struggles in her role as Savannah; her performance is wooden and forced, and when paired against a seasoned pro like Bassett, she flat out crumbles. A more relaxed approach to the material would have helped. Also, memo to Black filmmakers: drop the swishy gay hairdresser stereotype!Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kathie Klein on September 20, 2004
Format: DVD
I have mixed feelings about this film.This is a great film with a very strong performance by Angela Bassett. This is a very funny film also. The humor keeps it flowing. I do feel, however, that the story focuses too much on these women "getting some" and that relationships overrule everything but work. The best part of the story is Angela Bassett's character. I also think that the men in this film deliver good performances. The focus of the film is also the friendship between these women.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reginald Williams on October 22, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Big Budget African-American movies powered by high-octane music and commercial marketing build up a product that often falters because of one red-marked reason: the product does not live up to the anticipation (The brilliant MALCOLM X represents the one exception). WAITING TO EXHALE (WTE) does not stray from that outcome.

Like STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK and BELOVED, WTE displays all the muscles, attire, and connections for a genre-defining romantic movie along the lines of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY or FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL or even PRETTY WOMAN, but it loses credibility not because of its cast or production, but because of its convoluted storytelling. The best love stories possess some of the very best storytelling in movie history (GONE WITH THE WIND, TITANIC, MARTY).

The story begins well, but gets bogged down when Whitney Houston's long-standing "sometimes beau" (the always wonderful Dennis Haysbert) pops into the picture. While in the beginning, the interlocking stories of Houston's, Bassett's, Rochon's, and Devine's characters intrigue the viewer, Houston's relationship twists/turns dominate the film's second half causing it to change its focus from multinomial to monomial. Nothing dooms a movie away from excellence than changing foci.

If you want a well-written, enduring African-American love story, try JASON'S LYRIC, THE WOOD, THE BEST MAN, BROWN SUGAR. Try three of the greatest of the era: BOOMERANG, STRICTLY BUSINESS, and TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME . Also try some great TV series (A DIFFERENT WORLD, SOUL FOOD, GIRLFRIENDS, LIVING SINGLE).

WAITING TO EXHALE diverts the attention while it plays, but in the end, you will probably remember the movie for what it really defines: a B-class movie under A-class window dressing.
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