This Week In Flim: She-Devil (1989)
Ahoy kids, this is Nick The Mexican with another exciting edition of This Week In Flim! I know this one is pretty late, but I’ve been super busy with real world stuff. Job, girlfriend, family etc. but anyways I promise to have another one of these in by Sunday, and make Sunday my regular blogging day. So for this weeks entry I decided to way back into the depths of my memory. All the way back to 1989. I was only 5 years old when my first clear memory of going to the theater occurs. I remember quite vividly going to buy tickets, and the movie theater near the Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino, CA. Matter of fact my family and I bought advanced tickets so we were guaranteed to have seats for what was sure to be the best experience of my young life. Yes if I’m talking 1989 you know I’m talking about The Goddamn Batman! But wait a minute, Batman is no flim! No, it’s just the first movie I remember seeing. The flim in question is a movie whose poster was displayed just outside the theater, and that movie in the Roseanne Barr classic She-Devil
Yes She-Devil, the movie is actually my second clear memory of going to the talkies. I remember really well because it was there where I first laid eyes on Ms. Meryl Streep. Streep is a true American classic. I’ve seen just about everything of hers that I could, and like a fine wine (rhyme) she only gets better with age. But enough about Meryl Streep, we all know how incredible she is, what you need to know however is what a gem the movie She-Devil is. It is seen and described by many as a dark comedy where a housewife named Ruth, played by a devilishly delightful Roseanne Barr, seeks revenge on her husband Bob (Ed Begley Jr.) after he begins to have an affair followed by full on marrying Mary Fisher (Streep). In the beginning Ruth decides to just ignore the affair thinking Bob will eventually end it once he’s done playing and didn’t want to interfere with Bobs business as the accountant to Mary who is a romance novelist. Eventually fed up with all the chaos in her household and upset that Bob is continuing the affair Ruth confronts Bob, and he decides to pack up and leave.
It is here where Ruth decides to exact revenge on Bob by taking down his home, family, career and freedom. She begins by setting the house on fire and dropping their kids off at Mary’s mansion where she and Bob are living. One of the things not destroyed in the fire is Bob’s file on Mary’s finances. Ruth decides to use this to her advances and soon learns that Mary pays for her mother to live in a nursing home so Ruth gets a job working at the home using the name Vesta Rose. Ruth gets the crazy foul mouthed mother kicked out of the home so she is now going to have to live with Mary Fisher. While working at the home Ruth makes friends with Hooper, and the two decide to open up their own employment agency to help women much like themselves who are stepped on.
The Vesta Rose employment agency hires a young woman named Olivia who she sends to work for Bob at his firm as a secretary. Bob at first is quite enamored with Olivia until she tells him she is in love with him and immediately fires her. Olivia, heartbroken, helps Ruth sneak into Bobs office after hours and transfers money from Bobs client’s account to a Swiss bank account in Bob’s name. Soon Mary is fed up with Bob and his new affairs and the chaos in her own life. The kids are disrespectful and her mother is driving her crazy, and to top it all off no one shows up at the signing of her new book “Love In the Rinse Cycle”. Mary, very upset decides to throw herself a party to cheer up, but is completely shocked when the cops arrive with a warrant for Bob’s arrest and even more surprised when the lawyer for Bob lets it slip that Bob has been embezzling money from Mary. Too make matters worse the judge that Bob’s lawyer had made a deal with to get Bob off was changed last minute by one of Ruth’s employees from the Vesta Rose employment agency. Bob is sentenced to 18 months of prison, and has now had everything taken from him.
From the outside She-Devil is a revenge film, but I think at its core She-Devil is a movie about taking control of your life and realizing your full potential. Ruth is just a lady who has been stepped on and said enough is enough. True she got her revenge and yes the only reason she started up the Vesta Rose agency was for revenge but oddly enough she ended up helping out so many other women that the Bob debacle that ended her marriage was the best thing that could have happened to her. At the end of the movie we see Mary Fisher signing copies of her book, Ruth hands her a copy and has Mary sign it to her. Mary looks up and hands her the book and says thank you, and Ruth smiling back at Mary replies “No, thank you”. If it had not been for Mary, Ruth would have stayed in the rut she was in as a jaded, housewife, a doormat for everyone to walk on. The “flim” was directed by Susan Seidelman who really hasn’t done much else besides the brilliant Desperately Seeking Susan, and a few episodes of Sex and the City, and is actually a a Golden Globe nominee for Best Actress for Streep.
In a nutshell, I love this movie. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and the times I went to the theater with my family to see movies like this and Naked Gun, Ninja Turtles and all those other classics of my youth. Best of all is Randall loves this movie too, and it was one of the first movies we both connected with when we first started talking. I highly recommend this both for it’s great performances and as a well made black comedy.
Final rating: 1 being X-Men 3 and 10 being the Dark Knight I give this a 7.4 which falls somewhere in the line with the 2nd Hulk movie.
Until next week (I promise) I’m Nick the Mexican, saying so long and give it a chance.