Customer Reviews: Waiting to Exhale
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on September 13, 2001
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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on September 29, 2002
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! It's tired, done a million times before, and, frankly, is grossly out of touch with reality. That aside, it's not often that a movie successfully adapts a novel as well as this one, and "Waiting to Exhale," warts and all, merits a B in my school of cinema.
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on September 20, 2004
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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on January 30, 2012
always loved this movie since i was little and my mom used to watch it. Teaches you about self esteem and how to not lower yourself for a man or because of a man. Every female should watch this movie at least once in their life time .men too but females mostly. once again the supplier came through, got my dvds in 3 days maybe less
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on July 30, 2013
This is an interesting movie based on figuring out how to stop going in the same dumb relationship problem and step into the "get-over-it" syndrome. The varying personalities of these women are a mirror reflection of "us". The over protective single-mother with the "on the down low" ex-boyfriend (or husband -never really knew); then there is the successful single woman who gets the occasional urge to have a love of her own;next there is the doe-doe bird beauty, who believes that her sexual prowess is going to land her some successful bachelor. However, she ends up being a statistic, as many do, and getting pregnant by a married jerk! (not a man but a serious jerk!). Last, there is the dedicated wife who finds out dedication has added up to nothing in the area of love and commitment. She learned to be a trophy wife by putting her own career goals on hold the advance her husband. She is that "Let a Man be a Man" person we turn into when we go into denial about who we are next to instead of behind our mate.
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on April 30, 2012
Movie expressed the ups and downs of women in the dating world what does happen, what can happen in the divorcing world. It was A point of view that seemed pretty accurate. It was not a male-bashing flick.
Enjoyable movie that stayed close to the story that was written in the book.
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on May 5, 2012
Amazing movie, great actresses acting , great music, everything! I love DVD cover. Im glad that FOX after Whitney's death decided to re-release this movie on new DVD with new front cover, but c'mon, was it hard to add something extra? like some documentary, gallery, behind the camera movie, interviews? Fox just decided to make easy money after Houston death without any work from their side. Shame on them. Whitney deserved for more! 5 starts for movie quality only, not for this DVD release.

Shame FOX!
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on December 9, 2014
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on February 10, 2014
i first saw this when i was young and always thought how beautiful these women were even when they were hurt and that this film showed black women not just learning and moving on or just dealing with life but also healing from life..and I always say that its more the just the MY MAN JUST LEFT M SCREW HIM IMA GET A GLASS OF WINE AND WATCH THIS FILM type of movie.
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on January 5, 2015
My tastes in movies has definitely changed as I age.

I thought I really had liked this movie when I saw it years ago, but not so much now.

Don't really know why, just did not feel it.
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