It has been 20 years since Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler won over audiences with the box office smash hit comedy – The First Wives Club, and in true celebratory style I invited a few friends to come over and watch the hilarious comedy with me. We moved the couches around in the living room so we all had prime position, made a round of fresh coffee and placed biscuits on the coffee table. I even had a bottle of bubbly chilling in the fridge for after the movie. Blinds closed, surround sound turned on, we were ready to take a walk down memory lane.
When I first thought about The First Wives Club, I remembered the main characters – Elise (Goldie Hawn), Brenda (Bette Mildler) and Annie (Dianne Keaton) and all their funny one liners, but as the movie began to play I remembered that it all started with Cynthia (Stockard Channing). “Of the four of us, Cynthia was certainly the most likely to succeed. When she decided to do something, she just went right ahead and did it” – Annie. It was heartbreaking watching Cynthia take such drastic measures. After everything that had happened to her, she felt that ending her life was the only choice she had left.
Brenda: “Where’s Shelly?”
Morty: “In the car.”
Brenda: “Glove compartment?”
It was at Cynthia’s funeral that Elise, Brenda and Annie reunited. But it was later that day, over a few glasses of bubbly that the women become re-acquainted. “The time has come – spill. Those lips… are they wax?!” – Brenda asked Elise. It was funny to see the girls getting offended with each other, then after a few more glasses of wine, they let loose. “It’s the 90’s for gods sake. I mean it’s like, plastic surgery is like good grooming… its like brushing your teeth” – Elise. The more they drank, the more they talked. And the more they talked, the more they realised just how much they had in common.
Separated, divorced… Elise, Brenda and Annie were going through a rough time. But it wasn’t until they each had received Cynthia’s final letter that they decided to do something about it. Forming The First Wives Club enabled them to lean on each other, support each other and encourage each other to not only get even… but to get everything 😉 Along the way they learned just how much their failed relationships had effected them. Elise was becoming an alcoholic dealing with her lagging career and divorce. Brenda was struggling as a single mum while feeling unworthy when compared to her ex Morty’s new flame and Annie was busy being a doormat. In their own ways they had each lost their self-esteem, yet fortunately they were able to help each other.
Ivana Trump: “Ladies, you have to be strong and independent, and remember, don’t get mad, get everything!”
Breaking into apartments, visiting gay nightclubs, setting up auctions and arranging lunch dates with rivals was all part and parcel of being a member of The First Wives Club. Over time they remembered the strong women they were, but getting back at their ex’s wasn’t enough. They didn’t feel like they had accomplished anything, they didn’t feel like they had made a difference. Throughout all the drama what did they have to show for it? Ok a few assets, pride… but what about Cynthia, what did she have?
Opening the clinic for abused women was a turning point for each of them. They were making a difference and in the end they knew that Cynthia would always be remembered. That she did not die in vain. As a result of all they had been through they were much more confident, less stressed, happier and more aware of what they wanted. They were a little older, a lot wiser and they were ready to open their hearts and fall in love. “You don’t own me… I’m not just one of your many toys, you don’t own me, don’t say I can’t go with other boys…” – Elise, Brenda and Annie had reached a milestone. They were no longer bitter, they had accomplished all they set out to do. Just because one relationship didn’t work out didn’t mean they were meant to rot in the corner of the room and be thankful for what they have left. No, they learnt they were better than that. They had a lot of living to do, a lot dreams to fulfil and a lot of love to share.
They might have formed The First Wives Club but that was only a small part of who they were. A lesson many women have, and are yet to learn. But one thing was for sure… women learned a lot about themselves thanks to these three women. To not give up, to not sit back and wait for everything to be done for them. Elise, Brenda and Annie fought back and during that process they remembered those same young women who graduated together all those years ago. The First Wives Club was an inspirational movie, and a token of awareness for women of all ages.
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