Friendships and relationships are important in every person’s life and the majority of individuals strive to maintain the relationships that they value most. However, these relationships are adversely affected by certain elements such as jealousy and hatred from one party.
The 2008 film titled The Women showcases the themes of betrayal, and Mary Haines, who is the protagonist in this film, undergoes a difficult time as some people betray her. However, Mary is unbowed by this because she decides to make her life better by overcoming the challenges that come her way and forgiving those that have betrayed her trust. This film is based on a screenplay by Diane English although it is an update on the original film by George Cukor.
The conflict in The Women occurs when Mary gets to know that her husband is cheating on her with a perfume salesgirl known as Crystal. All the while, Mary never expects her husband, Steven, to have an affair since they have a successful marriage and a child. However, gossip is a primary feature in The Women, and it also touches on Mary’s life. Although Sylvie knows that Steven has an affair with Crystal, she fails to inform Mary and this is betrayal to their friendship. Mary would have expected to obtain this information from the person she was closest to, and this is Sylvie. However, writers from GloriousEssays.com states that since Tanya informs her of her husband’s infidelity, this indicates that the women in the society portrayed here look out for each other. Besides, after obtaining this information, Mary cannot label Tanya as a gossip since she enables her to see the other side of her husband.
The protagonist in The Women has a presumably successful life, and the friends that surround her also have glamorous lives. Besides, she is a beautiful, strong-willed woman who strives to be independent by working hard even after she differs with her husband. Mary’s success in life is seen through the neighborhood she lives in, a rich husband, and a daughter named Molly. Besides, she also holds a good job as a clothing designer and her friends also have a similar economic class. It is evident that although she has a comfortable life, she is also motivated by her friends who live glamorous lives and her child, who is her source of inspiration. For instance, her best friend, Sylvie, has a high sense of fashion, and she also works as a fashion magazine editor. Mary maintains a good relationship with Sylvie for a long time, and this is also indicative of the strong bond she has with her mother.
There are various antagonistic forces that Mary encounters in The Women, and they include Steven and Sylvie. However, these antagonistic forces only appear in a few instances in the film because the broken relationships are repaired later in the film. Steven represents an irresponsible father and husband due to his infidelity and this is in contrast to Mary, who works hard to take care of their family and daughter. Besides, Sylvie represents an untrustworthy friend who fails to inform Mary of the important issues that affect her life. On the other hand, Mary’s position as a protagonist is supported by her mother, Catherine, who supports her financially during her adversity. The setting of this film is in an affluent suburb, with primarily female characters, and this enhances the feminism theme portrayed here.
The major themes in The Women include feminism and betrayal. Evidently, the film’s cast comprises of women only, and the events portrayed revolve around the lives of these women. Also, the characters are seen to have successful careers together with comfortable lives, and this shows the ability that women have in the society currently. However, the betrayal that occurs results in arrogance and lack of concern for the feelings of other people. Steven’s infidelity is indicative of the behavior of some men in society who are successful and arrogant. The feminism theme has been used in the film to show that women can have successful careers on their own although the actions of other women may hinder their success.
Linking the film with the Marxist Literary Theory, the conflicts in the film arise due to the class differences between Mary and Steven, and the value that Sylvie has attached to her job. Steven cheats on Mary because he has a successful career as a financier, and he is the family’s breadwinner. Evidently, there is a power structure in the family and Mary struggles with it through her job. Besides, Mary fails to gather support from her friends since Sylvie uses Mary’s situation to her benefit so that she saves her job as a magazine editor.
On the other hand, looking at the film from a Feminist Literary Theory perspective, Mary argues with Steven since he oppresses their relationship by having an affair. This form of oppression results in the occupational difference between Mary and her husband, which makes Steven disrespect his wife. Also, Mary’s husband sexually objectifies women, and this is why he has an affair with Crystal despite being married to Mary. Additionally, the quest for personal empowerment breaks Mary’s friendship with Sylvie because she prioritizes her job over her friendship with Mary.
The themes expressed in his film are similar to others found in literature. For instance, in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, the character of “Shakespeare’s Sister” is a woman that has been denied opportunities. This section of Woolf’s work champions for women empowerment similar to what is observed in The Women. In this literary work, the female character known as Judith has a similar potential to her brother, although she is not allowed to go to school (Woolf 239). Evidently, Judith is oppressed by her parents based on her gender, and she is expected to perform the stereotypical roles that are also seen in the film. Also, Mary’s husband is portrayed as the breadwinner of the family because he has a good job while Mary’s job is not as highly paying as Steven’s. Apparently, Mary is expected by her husband to remain at home and be submissive regardless of his conduct. However, women empowerment is seen when Mary uses her skills to support herself.
This film encourages women to be independent and fight for their rights in the society. Besides, women stand to achieve a lot when they support and encourage each other. Although Mary’s mother advises her to avoid a confrontation with her husband following his infidelity, she has to speak up so that she can save her marriage. Also, the financial support she receives from her mother to start a business gives her the independence that she needs.