Waiting To Exhale Review

So I watched Waiting To Exhale…

This movie is a bit of a conundrum because if you list its individual features, you would think it would be a great piece of film – stellar cast, a plot that explores timeless themes; but it just doesn’t come together the way you’d hope. The movie feels bloated and instead of waiting to exhale, you’re left waiting (actually hoping) for it to end.

Okay, basic plot: Bernie (Angela Bassett) is a homemaker who has spent her life capitulating to her husband’s goals and is now served the shock of him leaving her for a white woman. Robin (Lela Rochon) is struggling to find love with all the potential she encounters either being married or childish idiots. Savannah (Whitney Houston) is also having the same issues with pressure from her mother about her single status reaching breaking point. Gloria (Loretta Devine) is facing the challenges of being a single mother to a teenage son and trying to rekindle the spark with her ex-husband which is blocking her from finding new love. These four women struggle to navigate the stormy seas of love while trying to maintain their friendships and sanity.

Thirty minutes into this film, I immediately knew that I wasn’t going to end up liking it. The scenes were dragged out and full of bloat. This resulted in a movie that is far too long for its subject matter. There’s also a disjointed feeling running throughout the movie. There’s four intertwined stories that are being told here but they don’t flow into each other and the transition between them lacks refinement or fluidity. This stops the movie feeling like one smooth piece made of different components and rather makes it feel like four puzzle pieces forced together that don’t make a unified image.

It’s a shame because this film has an amazing cast. The four women in its lead have amazing chemistry and individually provide entertaining, charming performances. The trouble comes when their stories get blended. There’s never a good balance that’s achieved. This might be due to Forest Whitaker’s direction. It feels like Whitaker doesn’t know what he should have left on the editing room floor. The film tries to show you too much and in the process winds up giving you actually very little enjoyment. The themes that the film explores are universal and in certain instances, timeless but the manner in which they are presented is so poor that it dilutes their impact and quality.

Another surprisingly disappointing feature of this film is the music. Babyface produced this film’s score and there’s moments where the music just doesn’t compliment the scene at all. There’s too many good things (on paper at least) about this film for it to be this poor. It’s a case of a great story but a mediocre film.

Overall, Waiting To Exhale is a good film that I feel is presented poorly. There were too many scenes where I was left wondering what was the point of us seeing this? The pacing is far too slow and the disjointed manner in which we jump from one woman’s story to another leaves much to be desired. I’d give this one a skip 5/10

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