Beauty in the Movies: She-Devil

I can’t believe this movie isn’t on DVD, it’s really a shame because it’s totally underrated and deserves to be viewed by a new generation. Thank goodness it is now streaming on Netflix for your enjoyment, so don’t miss out!

Loosely based on the novel by Fay Weldon, She-Devil gives us the story of Ruth Patchett (Roseanne) a clueless, frumpy, housewife in 1980s suburbia. She is verbally abused and neglected by her husband Bob (Ed Begley Jr.), and finally snaps when she can no longer ignore his blatant affair with romance novelist Mary Fisher (Meryl Streep). In a rage, Ruth vows to destroy all of her husband’s “assets” as he calls them. She burns down their house, drops the kids off with Bob at his mistress’s pink mansion, and heads off to start a new life driven by revenge.

As Ruth’s plans succeed, Mary’s life begins to crumble. Mary wanted Bob, and now she has him—and his children, and his infidelity, and thanks to Ruth, Mary’s loud-mouthed, elderly mother (who Mary had been keeping sedated at Golden Twilight Nursing home for years) shows up on her door step as well.

As Mary’s life falls apart, Ruth’s life blossoms, she renames herself Vesta Rose and opens a women’s employment agency with her friend Hooper (Linda Hunt). The Vesta Rose agency helps “women who the world threw away” by turning them into successful, strong, working women. At the same time, these women provide Ruth with an army that aids her in achieving vengeance over those who’ve wronged her, so she is doing good while doing bad.

She-Devil is, more than anything else, a film about fantasy. Mary writes bodice ripping romance novels and delivers her own fantasy to a legion of women who need the escape. Ruth herself once bought into Mary’s novels, but when her reality comes into sharp focus she brings Mary’s world crashing down to Earth along with her, bursting her pink bubble of fantasy by delivering Mary the responsibilities and stresses most of her readers are all too familiar with.

I honestly don’t think this film would work without Meryl Streep, you have to respect a woman who after winning a couple of Oscars, decides to do a movie like this one. I’m sure there are tons of critics who think it’s ridiculous, but there is no way you can watch this movie and not think Meryl is having a ball playing the ridiculous, vain, selfish, Mary Fisher. She gives a flamboyantly funny performance and when you’re as good an actress as she is, you can choose the roles you want to play without worrying that you won’t be taken seriously—and besides, being funny is a whole heck of a lot harder than being serious any day.

In essence, She-Devil is the ultimate revenge fantasy of every wronged woman. Ruth not only gives back what she got and them some, but she embraces her freedom and starts a new life by helping other women who’ve been abused and beaten down. Ruth’s wrath doesn’t burn her up, it renews her, she rises up from the ashes of her old life, and finds a new purpose. She doesn’t find a prince charming, and she does use other people to serve herself, but it’s almost refreshing to see that in a film, especially since nowadays every comedy seems so moralistic. All the characters do despicable things, they’re cliches—but sometimes we all are, so why not have a laugh about it?


She-Devil by justinez featuring a bodice dress

Preen dresses PINK
418 GBP –
Pink evening dress »

kirigami craft dress
$40 –
Vintage style dresses »

Silk-satin blouse
$139 –
Long sleeve tops »

White Linen Jacket
39 GBP –
Windsmoor »

Vanishing Floral Wide Pant
$420 –
Floral pants »

Shantung skirt Pink
20 GBP –
Pink skirt »

Pointy Pumps
$42 –
Pumps »

89 GBP –
Evening bags clutches »

Oval Pearl Clip Earring
$50 –
Oval jewelry »

Pink Chiffon Rose Ring
3 GBP –
Pink jewelry »

Rawnie Hat in Blanco
$295 –
Summer hats »

Classic Silk Ladies Gloves
$85 –
Silk gloves »

Silk Scarf with Polka Dot
$80 –
Wrap scarves »

Estee Lauder All Day Lipstick
$18 –

Charm Pen
$360 –

Christine fleurs –


Filed under Beauty in the movies

5 responses to “Beauty in the Movies: She-Devil

  1. 9juanjuan


  2. haren

    I can’t believe this isn’t on DVD. sexism pure and simple.

  3. Superguernseygirl

    I agree this is a fab film. I love it! BUT this has been on DVD for years! Currently, (April 2011) you can buy it for $16.97 on in the US and it’s also available in the UK on for £2 or £3, I think. Enjoy!!!

    • Thanks for the comment and the info!! Long ago Netflix promised me that if it was on DVD they would have it, and so I was patiently waiting for this to come out on DVD and should have checked Amazon! It does seem weird that the cheapest option for “buy it new” on Amazon is $29.99 (I distrust used DVDs because I’ve been burned before), it must have had a limited DVD release or something. I’m cheap so I refuse to pay more than $10 for a DVD, even if it’s a movie I love as much as She-Devil. Another great film that isn’t available on Netflix and is too pricey ($42.94!?) on Amazon—Circle of Friends—WTF Netflix??

  4. Lila

    Ooohh I LOVE the fashion in this movie, especially Meryl Streep’s costumes I Love them!!! The movieis also on YouTube (in separate parts 1-11) ♥ Thank you so much 🙂

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