Andrea Berloff, USA, 2019
The set up looked so good. Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, 1978, three Irish mafia wives decide to start running the show when their hateful husbands are put away for 3 years. Sounds great, right? Charlie’s Angels doing it for themselves, women breaking through gender expectations to take control of their lives.
So what a disappointment when it turned out to be a mess of a film, badly written and constructed. The actors were fab, the production looked great, the soundtrack appropriately stonking, but the feminist message was empty and ham-fisted and the action was all over the place.
I thought the dialogue was particularly terrible. I guarantee that people in 1978 were not ‘reaching out’ to each other (i.e. contacting) – as in, a shopkeeper who pays protection money saying something like, “I reached out to Little Jackie last week, but I never heard from him.” It’s an anachronism and it’s lazy writing.
All in all, it was moderately entertaining but forgettable. What a shame. What a wasted chance to ask questions of the characters and the audience, and delve deeper into the issues of the time and place.
I will remember the cinema more. The old Presidio Theater on Chestnut Street, San Francisco, has a great original 30s exterior and tiny, bijoux screening rooms (about 30 seats). Super.