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DVD Review: The Other Woman

June 14, 2011

The Other Woman – An Alliance Films’ Release

http://www.ifcfilms.com/films/the-other-woman

DVD Release Date: June 14th, 2011

Rated 14A for mature theme, language may offend

Running time: 102 minutes

Don Roos (dir.)

Don Roos (screenplay)

Based on the novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman

Brian Tyler (music)

Natalie Portman as Emilia Greenleaf

Lisa Kudrow as Carolyne

Scott Cohen as Jack

Charlie Tahan as William

Our reviews below:

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The Other Woman DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Originally premiering at TIFF in 2009, The Other Woman is the story of Emilia Greenleaf (Natalie Portman).  Having fallen in love with Jack (Scott Cohen), her boss at a prominent New York law firm, she finds herself pregnant.  But when their newborn daughter unexpectedly dies after only a few days, she is left struggling to make a connection with Jack’s 10-year-old son from a previous marriage, William (Charlie Tahan).  Constantly at odds with her husband’s neurotic ex-wife Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow), Emilia struggles to overcome her own depression before she can truly reach out to those around her.

With some of the editing feeling rushed and a somewhat unfocused first act, the appeal of The Other Woman might seem limited.  But this quiet drama is saved by believable performances from the strong cast, and a good script that thankfully only sparingly delves into melodrama.  The final few scenes of the film are particularly emotionally effecting, and at its core is an excellent and fearless performance from the wonderful Natalie Portman, who also served as a producer.  For her performance alone, The Other Woman is worth checking out.

The DVD includes no bonus material.  As the original cut of the film was 17-minutes longer, it’s unfortunate that no deleted scenes are included.

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The Other Woman DVD Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

In The Other Woman, Natalie Portman plays Emilia, a woman who after an affair with her boss ends up in a confusing relationship with him and thus stepmother to his 10-year-old son, William (Charlie Tahan).  But William’s mother doesn’t like her, and Emilia herself is a bit distanced towards him, who is a constant reminder of a child she lost.

The character of Emilia is not a happy one, but the film is a good look at grief, and the acting is strong particularly from Portman.  The script is fine, although it does feel in the middle as if some scenes were cut for length, making the pacing now feel rushed.  Still, if you are interested in the work of any of those involved, this one is well-worth a rental.

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The Other Woman DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

The Other Woman takes a believable look at grief, and how one family deals with the loss of a baby.  Natalie Portman stars as Emilia, a lawyer who has an affair with her married boss, Jack (Scott Cohen).  When she becomes pregnant, he leaves his wife.  Emilia moves in with Jack and his son, William (Charlie Tahan) to start a new family.  Things seem to go well, until Jack and Emilia’s baby, Isabelle, dies suddenly.  The entire family is affected, but Emilia is the most grief-stricken.  She blames herself for the baby’s death, and can’t accept that sometimes tragic things just happen.  She finds it hard to connect with her stepson William, an intelligent but socially awkward child, whose overprotective and neurotic mother, Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow) makes things difficult for everyone.

The Other Woman never falls into melodrama.  The family dynamics are believable.  This movie shows how different people may experience grief, particularly in today’s broken families.  The acting is really good.  Charlie Tahan, unlike many child actors, seems genuine as a child who hides his feelings inside.  Natalie Portman is excellent as a mother in grief, showing a realistic amount of emotion.  The Other Woman is a well made family drama, that is worth checking out.

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The Other Woman DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

The Other Woman originally premiered at TIFF 2009 under the title Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.  The timing of the DVD release under the current title is no doubt meant to capitalize on lead actor Natalie Portman’s 2010 Oscar win for her brilliant work in Black Swan.  Yet The Other Woman deserves recognition as a solid and sensitive drama on its own merits, though Portman does deliver a wonderful and believable performance as the “other woman,” Emilia.

Despite the movie’s title, the story is about way more than just one woman breaking up another woman’s marriage.  When Harvard law school graduate Emilia (Portman) falls for her married law firm boss, Jack (Scott Cohen) their eventual marriage is pushed to the limit by the sudden death of their newborn daughter.  Emilia struggles with her guilt and grief while trying to be stepmother to Jack (Charlie Tahan).  Jack is a high-maintenance child who’s intense and bitter mother, Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow) despises Emilia.

The Other Woman deals with the topic of grief and complex relationships in a sensitive but never melodramatic manner.  The acting is at all times believable with solid performances from the entire cast.  This is one of those lesser known indie efforts worth checking out on DVD.

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The Other Woman DVD Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Emilia (Natalie Portman) is The Other Woman, second wife to Jack (Scott Cohen) and stepmother to William (Charlie Tahan). Emilia had been hired out of Harvard as an assistant to Jack, a partner in a New York law firm, and they had a baby together that died after three days. The first wife Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow) is obsessively controlling and overprotective of William, a bright, awkward kid (likely with Asperger Syndrome) whom she is determined to get into a good private school. She mistrusts Emilia’s relationship with William, only dealing reluctantly through the Norwegian au pair when he is passed from one parent to the other. Emilia faces the challenges of keeping her marriage alive while drawing William out so he can enjoy life, all the while grieving her baby for whose death she feels responsible and harbouring resentment for her own father’s dalliances. Jack also tries to hold things together but may not be able to. Amid all the awkwardness, help from unexpected places leads to a hopeful outcome.

The Other Woman combines the documentary realism of a fine script played by an excellent cast with the polished production of a commercial film. At just under two hours,  it allows us to get to know and appreciate (if not always like) the characters and their motivations.

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Consensus: With an excellent performance from Natalie Portman at its heart, as well as a strong supporting cast, The Other Woman is a quiet and often believable drama that is worth seeking out on DVD.  *** (Out of 4)

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