Customer Reviews: Strangers in Good Company
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VINE VOICEon December 19, 2004
This is a seriously good movie, for those on the search for a serious good movie, but don't go expecting much by way of a plot. With much of it improv, it feels more like a documentary. Like "survivor for seniors." What happens if you drop a busload of very old women off in the woods and tell them to fend for themselves?

It's all very civilized, and there's not a lot of urgency about it. No pulling straws to see who gets eaten. Just a bunch of old women (and one mildly injured young one) trying to figure out how to divide an apple into 7ths while sharing the details of their lives. The most intriguing, for me, aspect of this film is that the actresses played themselves. Nonagenerian Constance Garneau was really Nonagenerian Constance Garneau, and when she weeps with fear at the thought of her impending death it doesn't feel like acting. Octagenerian Cissy Medding's bewildered grief as she faces her own fear of a life unloved and alone is not feigned.

But don't let me mislead you--this movie is not depressing. It's affirming. These old girls get along very nicely with each other and their world, and while there are no answers to the deeper dilemmas they face (we do get the sense that Constance may find hers), they manage their present challenge with an enviable bon vivant. In places, in fact, it's very funny. The interaction between Mary Meigs and Cissy Meddings when Mary reveals her awkward secret is priceless.

Good friends, good movie. I highly recommend.
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on January 25, 2004
This is one of a select few DVDs I give to special friends knowing that the viewing of it will be received as a true gift. The story line is simple: 8 women -- 7 are elderly -- must grow resourceful when their bus breaks down and they are stranded miles from civilization.
At the time the film was made, the 7 women, all non-actors, were feeling old and marginalized in their lives. Their situation changed one magical summer when they became unlikely movie stars. This film is a record of that summer. The viewer is caressed by the presence of these women as they open up and blossom before our eyes on screen. Enduring friendships were forged among cast members, many of whom felt their participation in this film was the best experience of their lives. Inevitably, most of the cast members are now gone. It is rewarding to know that these women lived to experience their standing ovations when the film was initially released.
Please note that there is a companion book about the making of the film (and more), written by cast member Mary Meigs titled "In the Company of Strangers" published by Talonbooks. It is a splendid read and is available from
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on July 11, 2002
The American historian Page Smith once wrote, "After an acquaintance of ten minutes, many women will exchange confidences that a man would not reveal to a lifelong friend." It's true that "Strangers in Good Company" is set in beautiful country and that the friendships that are born and explored during its hour-and-a-half length are absolutely charming and endearing to the Nth degree, but I believe more than anything else, it portrays the sense of sisterhood that exists among women over the age of 40. There's just something about being a woman who's no longer thought of as "young" that bonds women to each other, when they finally realize that gravity and hemorrhoids happen and there are worse things in life than growing old, and that being married (all a girl thinks about when she's young) isn't the be-all and end-all of a woman's existence. The women in this film are generally older than me but still, I felt that sense of sisterhood among them, and loved watching as each revealed her past, noting how some still revel in being alive while others seem to have given up and now wait to die. What really tickled me was, each character reminded me of a person I know in my own life (altho' I doubt my great aunt---a former school teacher---would be pleased to hear that "an ol' Lesbian" reminded me of HER [hahahahahahahahaha!]): Winnie, the dancer, who still thinks of herself as graceful and sexy; sweet little Cissy, almost overcome with emotion whenever she thinks of her son; Mary who, for all her art and appreciation for birds and nature, seems to take the world so literally; Catherine singing hymns while she works; Michelle who's younger than the others, but still senses that she has more in common with these "old ladies" than she thought at first glance; Beth, the loner, who at 80 is still self-conscious about her appearance; Constance, whose physical presence, as she sat and walked about, reminded me SO much of my dear little maternal grandmother (except that Grandma was full of joy until the moment of her death at age 92); and Alice, dear Alice. I've always had an "Alice"-type person in my life, an Earth mother sort who, when faced with the possibility of her own death, decides to go fishing instead. Lord, if I can be anything I want before I die, please let me be an Alice. In short, I LOVED this movie.... and you will, too!
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on September 18, 2000
I have always found the lives of women to be more interesting than that of men. They are emotionally stronger, have more depth and can make the most ordinary things interesting. And this film confirms my belief. I wish each of the women were my personal friend. It's hard to believe they are all first time actors. They are all so natural. Constance Garneau conveys more with her silence than any actor I have seen on screen with a million words. A beautifully made film. Breathtaking photography of the Canadian countryside, haunting music, superb acting. The film's more like a documentary. I wish there were more personal information on the Net on each of the actors, including their addresses so I could write and tell them how much they have touched my life through this film. The film helped me realize that senior citizens are as human as any youth, just as full of dreams, hopes, and desires. That within their old bodies lies an ageless, undying spirit, with cravings that will match that of any young person. The film has helped me prepare for my time when I'll be an "old man". Thank you everyone who was involved in the making of "Strangers In Good Company".
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on February 23, 2006
This movie is one of the best. A heart warming, slow paced reflection on life, the indomitable human spirit, and the meaning of true friendship when it occurs between strangers. Join this group of elderly ladies whose day outing on a bus turns into a journey of interdependence, self disclosure and survival. The spirit of these characters is wonderful to see unfold and it is made all the better when it becomes clear that they are in fact 'acting' their own lives. The movie is accompanied by a Director's commentary that should not be missed and an outline of the characters. Anyone with a heart - and maybe an elderly mother/aunt/grandmother - will not fail to be moved by this brilliant movie. A must see and an exceptional addition to your library - mine is nearly always 'out on loan'!

Russell Mills. Sydney, Australia
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on October 8, 2010
My review is definitely biased - my grandmother, Alice Diabo, was one of the stars of the movie. She was nominated for a Genie Award in 1991 (for Best Actress in a Canadian feature film).

I had the pleasure to meet most of the actresses (non-professionals, but you'd never know it). Though most of them are now gone, including my beloved grandmother, they have left an amazing legacy: there is no other movie in existence that tackles this issue with such honesty, respect and beauty. What you see on the screen is really these women, in all their frailties and - more important - glory.

Cynthia Scott and the National Film Board deserve great praise for creating this wonderful and unique film.

As others have said, there are no guns blazing nor aliens and special effects. This is simply a quietly brilliant film.
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on May 18, 1999
I liked this movie because it showed women of very different backgrounds coming together, accepting each other, and becoming close friends. Too often women are pitted against each other in shallow competition instead of bound together by commonalities. This movie shows the joy of overcoming differences and forming bonds with diverse women. Its highly positive portrayal of female friendship and its easy, laid-back pace make it ideal for a "Girls' Night!" I also think it portrays aging in a beautiful light. I can't wait to have the life experience these women have and hopefully the charisma too! Women of all ages will appreciate this movie - it will leave you with a warm feeling inside, pride in womanhood, and the feeling that you can conquer anything!
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on March 28, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed Strangers in Good Company. It is my new favourite movie.
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I loved everything about this movie. It wasn't a thriller, or a mystery, or a sexy comedy. It was a movie about life - enjoying it, savoring it, fearing the end of it, recalling the good and bad times. It is a reminder to younger people that when a person is 40 or 50 or 60 or more, our feelings and ideas don't stop. We still want love and affection. And in our minds we are still 20 years old, in love, with our whole lives ahead of us. It is as much a shock to us as to the young people in our lives when we look in a mirror and see the wrinkles and grey hair our experiences have given us.

The casting was perfect on the movie and it touched my heart.
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on December 14, 2001
This is one of those miraculous surpises in life. Each of the women in the movie presents their real lives and spirits in the fictional setting of a bus broken down 20 miles from civilization. They spend three days surrounded by the most beautiful scenery possible, exposing their humanity to each other and to the audience. It's the kind of movie and story that makes you happy to be alive, even while it forces you to confront your mortality. It also serves as a gentle reminder that every person you meet has a rich and nuanced personal history. No one can be simply judged and ignored, as our normally hectic lives might pressure us to do.
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