The Stepford Wives (1975) — These girls aren’t all right

“I guess I want to be remembered.”

Lissa’s rating: I’m really surprised the husband doesn’t wear a toupee.

Lissa’s review: Anyone who knows me can tell you one thing: I hate housework.

Just take a look at my desk. Right now it’s got several pieces of random paper, an open book turned over to mark the place, a necklace, my smearer for charcoal drawings, an old ink cartridge box, a barrette, a screw, a picture of Duckie, an old key ring, a thank you note that I haven’t written yet, a few CDs, the results from my physical (that happened a few months ago), and a ponytail holder. Whoops — there’s a piece of grapevine charcoal, a couple charcoal pencils, and hey — that’s where that recipe went. And some serious dust. And my desk in my office isn’t that much different.

The rest of the house isn’t quite so bad, I admit. And I’ve got to toot my own horn for a moment: I’m a pretty darn good cook. (And I do love to do it!) But you’re much more likely to find me up here banging away on my computer or reading a book than mopping the floors. I dust maybe once a month, and if something looks like it would need ironing, you can bet I’ll reconsider buying it.

Needless to say, if Duckie ever suggests we move to Stepford, I’m running away.

This is the original Stepford Wives that I’m reviewing here, not the newer one with Nicole Kidman. Everyone’s heard the ending by now, although I’m not going to actually say it because everyone was supposed to know the big twist for The Sixth Sense too, and someone ruined that for me. So I’m not saying anything about the ending, except I liked it.

However, it is hard to get the full impact of the movie when you have the conclusion already in your head. You can see the clues from miles away, and the movie loses any subtlety it might have had. Now granted, given that I spent a lot of time giggling really hard at Walter’s chest hair and ’70s fashions (including obvious results of bra-burnings), I’m not sure subtle was what I was looking for. Because my impressions of the movie were so influenced by knowing the ending, I’m really curious to see what the 2004 version with Nicole Kidman is like. (I didn’t make it to that one in theaters, but you can bet I’ll be renting it.)

From this far away in time, it’s kind of hard to see what exactly made this movie a classic. It’s kind of stilted, the acting’s not brilliant, and there’s nothing huge about it to make it stand out. But maybe that’s because this movie is so well known now that all of it’s secrets are ruined? I don’t know. If nothing else, it is worth watching for the “I can say I’ve seen it” aspect — The Stepford Wives IS a cult classic after all, according to most websites. It certainly had its moments, and I wouldn’t remotely call it a bad flick, but I’m not rushing out to add it to our DVD collection, either.

What was most interesting about The Stepford Wives was my reaction to it: i.e., I went on a cleaning binge. Now granted, I’d been planning on doing it anyway, but I actually felt a bit guilty about not having done it earlier. While The Stepford Wives examines gender roles and comes to the conclusion that most families should hire a maid, I’m left with a question of “What IS wrong with a clean house?” Women’s Lib is great an all, and you can bet I’m grateful for it, but there are times I wonder if maybe there isn’t a point in the men’s side of it. Not that I want to become a Stepford Wife (and everything THAT entails), mind you, or that I want to give up my identity and be a domestic slave, but… I don’t know. There is a certain responsibility about being a wife, and although those responsibilities deserve respect, it doesn’t mean we’re free of them. Right? Oh, this is getting too deep and conflicted and all that. Heck with it.

Anyway, I doubt that’s the message I was supposed to walk away from the movie with, but if it gets me to pull out the vacuum and the Pledge, it’s probably worth it. Hmmm. I’d better make SURE this one doesn’t end up in our collection. Otherwise, I’m in big trouble. (Although the house may be spotless.)

But maybe I should actually cook tomorrow.

Didja notice?

  • Walter’s lovely chest hair?
  • A bald husband? In Hollywood? Well, of course. He’s evil!

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