Christopher Walken and Glenn Close play a scary couple in this sci-fi comedy


originally, wives of stepfordwas a film adaptation of the 1975 novel of the same name and was advertised as a feminist horror. It makes sense. While the story is full of her sci-fi elements, it’s also a long-ago tale of the conquest of women by society’s standards. Joanna (Catherine Ross) moves with her family to a suburb of Stepford, Connecticut, but soon discovers that the town’s women are strangely “perfect.” They only care about household chores and their husbands. It then becomes a spoiler for the ’70s movie, but it’s revealed that the women aren’t human at all. The real wives were all killed and replaced with soulless, black-eyed mechanized “Stepford Wives”. Not the kind of movie that screams comedy. But in 2004, that was exactly the direction. wives of stepford I needed a remake.directed by Frank Ozof of Muppets Despite its fame, the new version still leaves a lot to be desired. The screenplay seems to take a back seat in favor of attention to visual detail. (“It’s a real bake sale! It’s like some sort of paradise diorama in the Housewives Hall of the Smithsonian Institution!”). But there are bright spots in the film as well. Christopher Walken and Glenn Close. Playing villains, they are having a great time. And when they are put together, they are nothing like robots.

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The Stepford Wives has a feminist message — or does it?

The Stepford Wives smiling in colorful dresses in The Stepford Wives (2004)
Image via Paramount

you might expect, wives of stepford‘, that it was written by a woman. In fact, the 1972 novel was written by a male writer named Ira LevinI also wrote a small novel called, so the name may sound familiar. rosemary baby. wives of stepford Labeled as satirical and from a feminist point of view, which is debatable. Thinking of her husbands, literally Replacing his wife with a mindless machine is certainly topical, but some wonder if Joanna’s failed attempt to free herself gives her so much power. right. (At the end of the novel, Roussanne, one of the town’s first black residents, is poised to be replaced next.) This, of course, does not criticize the society the book is satirizing. I’m not saying that. It’s natural. However, it is also true that some prominent feminists at the time criticized the adaptation for not sufficiently exploring the issues it raised. Writer and activist Betty Friedan also stormed out of the screening. She thought it was a “ripoff” of the women’s liberation movement.

These issues are magnified in the 2004 edition, where additional comedy threatens to dull the edges of the film’s message and bring Oz’s signature aesthetic into focus. Initially, the film was intended to have a darker atmosphere, perhaps in contrast to the film’s brighter color palette. But given the 1986 film directed by Oz, Little Shop of Horrorsalso had its “sad” ending changed by the studio, but he must have been used to adjusting the tone. From nervousness on set to huge budgets, the reasons for failure are endless. (later told by Oz) Isn’t it cool He had “too much money” and had lost sight of his instincts. “I love doing destructive and dangerous things, but I wasn’t,” Oz said. ) he can safely say that things did not go as well as he had hoped. Thankfully, movies don’t have to be critically acclaimed to be funny. And this movie definitely does.

Glenn Close plays eerily perfect matriarch in Frank Oz’s The Stepford Wives

Claire (Glenn Close) smiling as brightly dressed Stepford women clean their room in The Stepford Wives (2004)
Image via Paramount

Frank Oz’s whimsical, distinctive visual style emerges from the film’s opening credits. wives of stepford. Saturated footage of an old kitchen appliance commercial slowly sets the scene. This is a world stuck in her ’50s, a world where women are still expected to stand in the kitchen. In other words, the opposite of what Joanna Everhart does (Nicole Kidman) It is alive. A talented TV producer of reality shows exploring gender dynamics, she lost her job and had a “complete mental breakdown,” prompting her hilarious husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) decided to move the family to the suburbs. Then things start going in a strange direction. You are pressing the button too tight. The church steeple, perfectly organized pantry, puffy dress and spotless kitchen are all managed by town real estate agent Claire Wellington (close). In a vintage dress and frilly bob, Claws looks like she just stepped out of a Coronet propaganda movie. She behaves like that too. Upon meeting her couple’s daughter, she quickly declares that she is “cheeky and a little sad.” Close simply played the role and smiled broadly as he demonstrated the electronic features of his new home. (Apparently, it can test urine for fat, and comes with a robotic dog.) As the neighborhood mistress, she’s able to ‘clean up’ through meaningless activities like “clerobics” pretending to do the laundry. Gleefully leading other perfect wives. Of course, as a parody of WASP-esque femininity, Claire wouldn’t be complete without her husband.

Glenn Close and Christopher Walken are the perfect Stepford couple

Christopher Walken and Glenn Close as Mike and Claire Wellington in The Stepford Wives (2004)
Image via Paramount

After all, Claire’s husband is almost the same person as her. Mike Wellington (Walken) is the ringleader of the chauvinistic Stepford men and a slimy manipulator.Somehow, it’s perfectly believable that Close and Walken’s characters come together — they both hide some kind of tense desperation for perfection, and it’s not even The first time you played a spouse on screen! (See article from 1991) S.directionplain and tall.) Walken is a smooth operator. He takes control of the town, taking away his broken wives when they break down, and convinces the new residents to move their loved ones by car. Close and Walken are both blond here, and the twin smiles are unsettling under perfectly combed hair. Claire is controlling and losing her freedom, and Bobby is (Bette Midlerin a grossly underutilized role) is uncomfortable.

Mike, on the other hand, is restrained and commanding, slipping under Walter’s skin. Sitting in the men’s club, he’s like a spider in a web and his eyes are hungry. It’s easy to see that he’s following the same route as the original. However, this version has a little twist. Not only are the women not robots (they have chips in their brains instead), but it turns out that the real mastermind is Claire. All becomes clear when Mike’s neck is crudely decapitated with a candelabra. Claire, a brilliant brain surgeon and slashing geneticist, created her own robotic husband to compensate for his career burnout. And in the process creating a dystopian patriarchy. The oath “in sickness and in health” must have been serious. Because after a long and gloriously rambling monologue, Claire finally kisses Mike’s severed head. She was electrocuted like in the comics, cementing the couple’s status as her legendary evil lover.Oz’s opinion wives of stepford Although unsuccessful, Close and Walken are worth keeping an eye on. Even a robot could not reproduce the chemical reaction.

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