A Good Woman

2006

A Good Woman

Critics Consensus

This adaptation of Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan lacks bite due to liberties taken with the source material, coupled with uneven performances.

38%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 82

49%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 107,273
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Movie Info

One of Oscar Wilde's most popular plays is given a new screen interpretation in this period comedy. In New York in the early '30s, Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt) is a widow who lives comfortably through the largesse of several married men, and when she runs out of wealthy suitors in Manhattan, she decides to find greener pastures among the wealthy elite of Italy's Amalfi coast. Mrs. Erlynne sets her sights on Robert Windermere (Mark Umbers), a wealthy Englishman who is married to the young, innocent and very beautiful Meg (Scarlett Johansson). Mrs. Erlynne gingerly tries to separate Robert from his wife and his money, fueling suspicions within Amalfi society as well as the audience that they are involved. Humiliated and ready to beat him at his own game, Meg begins to consider the advances of the handsome Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore), one of her husband's close friends. In the midst of all the attempted infidelity, the genially eccentric Tuppy (Tom Wilkinson) struggles to win Mrs. Erlynne's hand, while only one of the interconnected parties know that she carries a shocking secret. A Good Woman was based on Wilde's +Lady Windermere's Fan, with its title drawn from that show's subtitle, "A Play About a Good Woman."

Cast

Helen Hunt
as Mrs. Erlynne
Scarlett Johansson
as Meg Windermere
Stephen Campbell Moore
as Lord Darlington
Mark Umbers
as Robert Windermere
Milena Vukotic
as Contessa Lucchino
Diana Hardcastle
as Lady Plymdale
Jane How
as Mrs. Stutfield
Giorgia Massetti
as Alessandra
Shara Orano
as Francesca
Bruce McGuire
as Waiter Joe
Michael Stromme
as Hotel Desk Clerk
Valentina D'uva
as Giuseppina
Augusto Zucchi
as Antique Shop Keeper
Carolina Levi
as Dress Shop Salesgirl
Daniela Stanga
as Dress Shop Owner
Arianna Mansi
as Stella's Maid No. 1
Camilla Bertocci
as Stella's Maid No. 2
Nichola Aigner
as Mrs. Gowper
View All

Critic Reviews for A Good Woman

All Critics (82) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (51)

  • ... willfully odd movie ...

    Feb 17, 2006 | Rating: 2/4
  • A wet teabag of a movie.

    Feb 16, 2006 | Rating: C

    Keith Phipps

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • A Good Woman suffers from a staggeringly bad miscasting of its central role and from a cut-and-paste screenplay that substitutes random insertions of Wilde epigrams for character.

    Feb 3, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Something is wrong with A Good Woman: The lightning never strikes. It's never quite alive.

    Feb 3, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Wilde isn't supposed to be lovely, or charming. He's supposed to be funny, wicked, rude and as full of serious feeling as a lavender butterfly.

    Feb 3, 2006 | Rating: 2/4
  • A Good Woman is such a dreary affair that it makes you wonder whether the last Wilde adaptation -- the critically lambasted The Importance of Being Earnest with Reese Witherspoon -- was really that bad after all.

    Feb 3, 2006 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for A Good Woman

  • Sep 01, 2013
    When it comes to adapting the work of such a famous writer like Oscar Wilde, almost any director will fall into some difficulties in portraying such vivid storytelling, especially in re-envisioning the wildly popular play "A Good Woman". Mike Barker's adaptation is both wonderfully cast and wrongfully cast in many instances, as is it often acceptably portrayed and mistakenly portrayed on several occasions. Helen Hunt as Mrs. Erlynne tends to feel a bit miscast. While Hunt is normally a strong and insightful actress, her performance here is muddled, never possessing the femme fatale factor needed to carry her sexuality to the level it needs to be. Instead, she often appears unsure of herself, a choice she makes, but ultimately squanders any sexual undertones surrounding her role. On the other hand, Tom Wilkinson is expertly cast as Tuppy, who embodies his prestige with a vigor all his own, regularly stealing the show and becoming the highlight of the last half of the film. Scarlett Johansson, neither strongly nor badly casted, does carry the naivety needed to successfully delineate the role of Meg and even surprises on occasion. If you've never experienced Wilde's play, as I had not, the film does well to hide many of the story's secrets and produces a mix between great revelations and poor conclusions. Overall, "A Good Woman" rides the borderline between a good adaptation and a misguided one, presenting Wilkinson and Johansson in enough of a favorable light to make the film worth it, but with no expectations of being a favorite.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2013
    Based on a play by Oscar Wilde, A Good Woman is a satirical comedy set in the 1930s. The story follows a seductress, who preys upon rich men, as she heads for the coast of Italy in search of new prospects. The film stars Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Wilkinson, who all give strong performances. The costumes and set designs are also quite impressive, and have an authentic feel to them. However, the writing is dialog heavy, and it interferes with the storytelling. While the film has some problems, A Good Woman is an entertaining film with a smart sense of humor.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2012
    A woman suspects her husband of infidelity when an older woman who has a sullied reputation comes to town. Why do modern directors and writers think they are smarter than some of the best writers in the English language? In this case, Oscar Wilde's great play Lady Windemere's Fan gets distorted, the worst sin coming in the third act of the film. In addition to alterations in the plot, writer Howard Himelstein interjects some of Wilde's random witticisms into the script; for example, there is little reason why America being the only country to go from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between should be included in the film. It's funny, of course, but out of place. Helen Hunt does not deliver a strong performance. I often thought that Wilde's sophisticated dialogue puts Hunt out of her element, and Scarlett Johannson isn't much better. Obviously the Britons, Tom Wilkinson and Stephen Campbell Moore aren't similarly affected. Overall, the source material is strong, but the film isn't.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 06, 2012
    What a strange title... almost all the women pissed me off in this movie. I take that back; all the characters pissed me off. There is so much deceit, cheating, and dishonesty going about this plot that we, as the audience, don't know who to root for. There's a group that are the gossipers, Helen Hunt's the seductress, Scarlett Johansson wavers between loyalty and betrayal, and worst of all, Stephen Campbell Moore tries his hardest to break the bond of marriage to satiate his want to sleep with a hot girl. Yeah, you heard me; Campbell Moore says that he does it for the sake of "love" but I call it a booty call, and I make that assumption based on his annoying ass character's mannerisms and actions. What particularly annoyed me the most was how almost everyone within this movie was NOT genuine until the movie decides to wrap everything up with a happy, feel-good ending. "A Good Woman" is put together sloppily with very generic techniques that add nothing to the subpar plot with some of the most annoying side characters I've seen in a very long time. This movie is not worth a watch.
    Albert K Super Reviewer

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