We present a dozen movies, from Hollywood, France and South Korea, that treat the vengeful-woman theme with fondness or dread, as comedy, melodrama or stark tragedy. Directed by George Cukor, from the play by Clare Boothe. Mary needs to humiliate the conniving, working-class Other Woman so she can win back the philandering husband of her own social station. In this divinely salacious comedy, the men are nearly irrelevant; anyway, we don;t see Stephen or any other dude.
A Broadway hit written by the woman who would become the second wife of Time Inc. But the version is the true, sparkling, dirty dish. It proves that, sometimes, the only weapon a woman needs is words. Julie Kohler Jeanne Moreau tracks down five men, one by one, determined to kill them for the murder of her husband on the day she married him.
They should have killed the bride. One or two implausible plot twists are detonated in this melodrama from the world-class filmmaker warmly remembered for the lighter, more romantic Jules and Jim and Day for Night.
Directed by Colin Higgins. Written by Patricia Resnick and Colin Higgins. Judy Bernly Jane Fonda , who needs a job after her husband left her for his secretary, joins the huge firm Consolidated Companies and learns the ropes from Violet Newstead Lily Tomlin , a widow who is a whiz at work but has been denied promotions in favor of the man she trained, dastardly Franklin Hart Dabney Coleman. When Franklin spreads rumors that he is sleeping with buxom Doralee Rhodes Dolly Parton , the three women harbor fantasies of revenge involving guns and bondage, which — this being Hollywood — they are able to wreak upon the heartless Hart.
The property lives on in the many plot contrivances that The Other Woman borrowed from it. Directed by Adrian Lyne. Written by James Dearden and based on his short film. It also had a retrograde view of career women. Alex stokes some early sympathy when Dan threatens her and she slits her wrists, but she festers into a mad monster around the time she cooks the bunny. Hardly a sure thing during production Lyne and Dearden changed the ending after previews , the movie became a giant hit, made the cover of TIME and spawned other crazy-babe slasher films like Basic Instinct.
Women saw it as a cautionary tale, men as the scariest horror movie. Shortly after its release, Close was introduced to a mids woman with her husband in tow. Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by Callie Khouri. Two women on the run from the law in the rural South: The saloon Lothario who attempts to rape Thelma changes that; Louise shoots him dead, and the two go joyriding onto the police blotter. Finally trapped by the law, the women drive off a cliff — suicide seen as a magnificent screw-you gesture.
Directed by Hugh Wilson. Screenplay by Robert Harling, from the novel by Olivia Goldsmith. When they were young and perky, they married ambitious men and helped them to the top. Then they got dumped for newer models. Hit a man where it hurts: Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Directed and cowritten by Chan Park-wook. Korean melodramas are like classic Hollywood fare gone totally nuts.
The crimes are more vividly displayed, the retribution way more lurid. In this capper to his bloodily operatic Vengeance trilogy, following Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy , remade by Spike Lee last year , Chan hands the reins of revenge to a woman. Lee Geum-ja Lee Young-ae , convicted of murdering a schoolboy, becomes a model prisoner and on her release is welcomed as a sinner reformed to sainthood.
Written and directed by Im Sang-woo. Another wronged woman metes out vengeance in this remake of a Korean film. Lovely, innocent, working-class Eun-yi Jeon Do-yeon is hired by a wealthy family that festers with corruption and malice. The husband, a prosecutor, is a narcissistic philanderer who quickly seduces and impregnates the girl. Each family member bears animosities toward the others; but when the unity of this sick brood is threatened, they stand together.
Rich people are awful, and the poor their pawns. Written and directed by Tate Taylor, from the novel by Kathryn Stockett. In s Jackson, Mississippi, a full century after Scarlett gave orders to and took strength from Mammy, white women still use women darker than themselves to cook the food, mind the babies and be treated generally like slaves. Itemizing the small-mindedness of the ruling class, this surprise hit raised admiration for the maids and outrage at the contempt with which their employers treat them.
For a black to talk back is to talk herself out of one of the few jobs available in the post-bellum South; so when stoic, warm Minny Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer is fired and defamed by the hateful harridan Hilly Holbrook Bryce Dallas Howard , Minny confects revenge as a dish best served in the form of a chocolate pie.
Metaphorically speaking, poop never smelled so sweet. Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck. Written by Jennifer Lee. As a child, that gift nearly killed her sweet sister Anna Kristen Bell , so Elsa stayed secluded from Anna and the rest of the kingdom. On her 18th birthday, she tries to protect Anna from falling in love with the first man she meets, and in adolescent fury unleashes a nuclear winter on the kingdom.
From the vengeful stepmother in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the youth-obsessed witch of Tangled, Disney animated features have depicted imperious females nursing desperate grudges. But Elsa, for all her chilling faculties, is no villainess — just a girl like Carrie, both frightened and tantalized by her capacity for meteorological mischief.