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Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever title, fun premise ..., September 20, 2010
This review is from: Mrs Washington Goes to Smith (DVD)
... but for me it fell short. Alice Washington has two grown children, a daughter who is a lawyer and a son who is an art history major in college. Her husband has left her for a younger woman and so she decides to return to Smith College and finish the education she interrupted 30 years ago when she got married. Unfortunately, the single room she expected is not available upon her arrival at the school. She is required to share a room "temporarily" with a young woman who is a pianist, biker and attitude queen. By the time the single room is available at Thanksgiving, Alice and Zoe have been through many things that have brought them together in an interesting friendship and she decides to stay. The story line between the two of them is what I thought was the best part of this movie.

*Spoiler Alert*

Zoe came to Smith to get away from the sad situation at home and rarely answers her mother's calls. Enter Alice--her mother away from home. Alice doesn't rat on Zoe when she copies from her paper, she picks up after her, she sees to it that Zoe buckles down and graduates instead of running away, and gets her mother back in her life. Zoe coaches Alice on dating, gives her a make-over, and gets her into the final basketball game. All that said, what could have been a fun movie just didn't measure up to its potential.

Alice Washington shows up at Smith College looking like a frumpy fifty-something-year-old. During the course of the movie we see her attract the attention of a much younger professor who "could have any woman he wants", make the basketball team on the power of one shot she never misses even though she can't dribble the ball, get a makeover that leaves her much more stylishly dressed but even the new blond "do" and the soft-focus camera can't wash away the years.

When Alice's husband calls it quits with his girlfriend and comes back wanting to make amends she dismisses him without a second thought. After all, she has a much younger man waiting in the wings. I had a hard time buying the "chemistry" between the professor and Alice. I don't know if it was because of the obvious age difference of more than a few years or if it was the less than stellar acting on the part of the female lead.

Billed as family entertainment, there were a couple of incidents of profanity, and a brief discussion in the dorm about sex. Since I have only seen this recorded from TV, I don't know if the dvd will have been edited or have any added scenes. I do know that after seeing it once I didn't think I would want a copy and after watching it again before writing this review I know I don't need to see it anymore.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 7, 2011 8:21:45 AM PST
Anna Cuomo says:
I disagree with for former comment. I saw this movie on tv and found it to be extremely inspirational. I'm a 42 year old going back to get my bachelor's degree in accounting. Every time I watch this movie it gives me more inspiration to continue, keep pursuing the dream, and most importantly to never give up.

I have watched this movie over and over again. I highly recommend it especially if you need some motivation or inspiration.

I believe in the chemistry between the professor and Cybil Shepard. I don't think it's unbelievable that a older woman can have a relationship with an older man. I'm not saying that was what the former comment said.....it's just my opinion.

This is a must watch especially if you feel the need to be inspired to go back to school or follow any dream.

Anna Cuomo
Wallingford, CT

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 9:03:05 AM PST
J. Olsen says:
Anna,
Thank you for your comments. We all have our opinions and they can all be "right".

I also believe an older woman can attract a younger man--it has happened in my own family. I just didn't see believable chemistry between these two actors--for me. My criticism was not of the idea--just of the presentation of it in this movie. I've seen it done more convincingly in other films.

I encourage you to pursue your dream of a bachelor's degree. If this movie inspires you to continue, it is raised in my estimation. Many of my friends returned after raising their families and overcame great obstacles to meet their goal. It is worth it. I was crazy enough to pursue my degree while having my family and spent almost a decade squeezing in classes whenever I could before finally completing my courses. It may seem silly, but "Chariots of Fire" served as an inspiration for me. It was released at the time I was struggling with school and babies and a tiny apartment. It had not so much to do with completing an education (though many of the characters were in college), but it was all about working toward a goal and achieving it.

Success to you!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2011 1:58:11 PM PST
Anna Cuomo says:
Thank you very much for your encouragement. I really appreciate it. . I respect your opinion and the fact that you went back to school while raising children. God Bless you.

Anna

Posted on Apr 7, 2013 9:05:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 7, 2013 9:08:48 PM PDT
"Alice and Zoe have been through many things that have brought them together in an interesting friendship and she decides to stay. The story line between the two of them is what I thought was the best part of this movie."

I agree it was part of the human element that made the story so charming for me. I just felt it got overshadowed by the love denied (or at least deferred) that was experienced by our two heroes.

"Alice Washington shows up at Smith College looking like a frumpy fifty-something-year-old."
Well, duh! With self-absorbed children (and spouse), who nonetheless unselfishly and self-deprecatingly spent her best years catering to her loved ones - and with miniscule love and appreciation in return, when did it ever occur to her to grab her hubby's charge card and run off to Victoria Secret?

Apparently, never.

Remember she was a frump, and had been used up while she was being a mother to her children of their absentee father. If hubby wanted excitement he got it from some bimbo whom he found more enticing.

"When Alice's husband calls it quits with his girlfriend and comes back wanting to make amends she dismisses him without a second thought."

I disagree. I'll bet any woman who had been around the block with a loser like him would have had several thoughts, and definite reasons for turning the worm down:
1: His word isn't worth a pile of dog dung. He will vow eternal and perpetual love, but don't think it's forever, ok?
2.He is capable of infidelity when his current squeeze gets a bit frumpy looking. Or maybe the new find demands he make a choice?
3. His penis dictates his fidelity.
4. He's only good at manipulating women until they get wise to him.

"Billed as family entertainment, there were a couple of incidents of profanity, and a brief discussion in the dorm about sex."

Now you are starting to sound psychotic. Did it say "G and gather around all your little kiddos for adult drama on their level"?

My secret for inoculating my growing sons against the outside world (language, alcohol etc.) was to bring it home, but selectively. Much was allowed, but only the stuff that would cause permanent damage would be frowned upon. Your making cuss words and any sex talk whatsoever inside the house forbidden would only make it much more appealing when heard outside the freedom of your repressive thumb.

And, make you the object of ridicule among your children's peers who seek to be your kids' real spheres of influence.

And, there will come a time when your children will look at each other and tee-hee about words you prohibit, but they nonetheless freely hear in kindergarten.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2013 10:22:18 PM PDT
J. Olsen says:
Were you reviewing my review of the movie, or what you have presumed to be my parenting skills? Because I mention specifics from the movie that some parents may want to know, you assume you know what is and isn't allowed in my home, you say I sound psychotic and accuse me of having a repressive thumb. Wow, where did that come from? I have disagreed with many a review and have never felt the need to attack what I might have imagined to be the reviewer's home life.
My children are well-adjusted, responsible adults, and somehow we missed out on the ridicule and tee-heeing, but thanks for your concern.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2013 3:13:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2013 3:15:11 AM PDT
Just trying to figure out your negative slant on the movie, J. I felt you were unduly attacking it, or were being unnecessarily harsh in your negative comments, which I felt were undeserved. I still can't figure out all the negativism, especially in light of your reply.

If your household is so fully and well adjusted, then congratulations. But if so, why worry about the dysfunctional ones out there? Why enable and justify their maladjusted outlook on life and movie viewing. I'm confused by the mixed signals.

Nuf said?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2013 7:51:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2013 7:52:00 AM PDT
J. Olsen says:
So I didn't think the movie was that great and you did. What is there to figure out? Why does that create a need in you to go after me personally? You think the movie didn't deserve my negative comments, but somehow that means I deserve yours? We disagree on the movie. Big deal. Write your own review and express your opinions about the movie. It is possible to do that without having to include judgements on other reviewers.
More than enough said.
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J. Olsen
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Location: UT, United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 23,130