For Beauty in the Movies this week we find ourselves entwined in the lives of characters on a small block in Manhattan’s west village, unfortunately the west village is slowly turning into a roofless shopping mall, devoid of charm, which makes me want to alternately scream and cry, but I digress. The film The Butcher’s Wife takes place when the village still felt like a community and was filled with ma and pop stores, much like the butcher’s shop featured in the film. So for me, and other New Yorkers I’m sure, there is a nice bit of nostalgia attached to it. The film came out in 1991, (I don’t know why I keep choosing movies from this period, I guess movies from my childhood have a lasting effect!) it’s crazy how much New York has changed since then.
At first I wasn’t so sure about featuring this film, it is on the predictable side, I don’t think Demi Moore (who replaced Meg Ryan before filming) was perfect casting, and it is a sort of formulaic romantic comedy. All that being said, it passes the Bedchel test, it has an amazing supporting cast and when I saw how riled up some people on imdb got about the lesbian characters (who don’t even kiss, and barely touch), I realized that it was a little more controversial and feminist than I thought.
So, Demi Moore is Marina, a clairvoyant from a small island off the coast of North Carolina who is awaiting the signs that will lead her to her true love. Many have slammed Moore’s accent in this film including myself (she earned a Razzie for her performance), but a commenter pointed out that on the island of Ocracoke, where the character is from, residents have a mix of southern and English accents due to the island’s seclusion, so maybe Demi isn’t actually so bad. Anyway, Marina sees the man she is going to marry in her dreams, and when he washes up on shore, despite being a bit older and plumper than she had imagined, she immediately jumps in his boat and lets him whisk her off to his home (and butcher shop) in Manhattan. She then walks around barefoot, in her nightgown, and on rooftops, enchants everyone she encounters, and unknowingly sets up several love triangles as she goes.
This film is an example of magical realism which we don’t get to see too often in American movies, things are usually either very fantastical, or very realistic in American cinema. I like films that blend the two together, because I do believe there are little bits of magic in everyday life, whether it be mystical magic or a human sort of magic. I guess I just love magic, just not so much with rabbits.
What really makes this movie for me is the supporting cast, both Jeff Daniels and Demi Moore are alright, but Mary Steenburgen, Frances McDormand (before Fargo), Max Perlich, George Dzundza, Margaret Colin (Blair’s mom on Gossip Girl!), Miriam Margolyes (professor Sprout from Harry Potter!), and a bunch of other amazing actors are what really put the charm in this film.
It’s a great movie to watch with your mom on a rainy afternoon, I’m sure that I have. In fact this is one of my mom’s favorite movies as it involves witchy magic, the west village, an ocean-y theme, and pretty shoes. My mom has long coveted the Peter Fox shoes featured in this film, so much so that she splurged and bought them for my wedding in October:
She is going to have them DTM (that’s dyed to match) her dress, she is going to look good!
Anyway, this isn’t an epic film, it won’t make you cry (hopefully), or feel terribly deep emotions, but it will entertain you, and maybe make you laugh too, so check it out!
Don’t forget I’m always open to suggestions for films with strong female leads, so let me know!
Have a great weekend kids, and if you want to look like Demi Moore in a butcher shop, here are the fashions featured in the collage:
65 GBP – johnlewis.com
More People Tree dresses »
750 GBP – brownsfashion.com
More Future Collectables dresses »
More Anthropologie belts »