Review: The Other Woman

Maddy Airlie 6 May 2014

The Other Woman’s beginning looks like a perfume advert about the sickening joys of coupledom; with people so good looking, it is impossible to believe they exist in a world with plumbing problems. However, this is the lie Mark (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster Waldau) spins to his girlfriend Carly (Cameron Diaz) because he has to have dinner with his wife, Kate (Aimee Mann). Once Carly finds out Mark is a cheater, she promptly stops all contact with him but cannot get rid of his wife who keeps trying to be her friend. The pair end up as unlikely best buds who are then joined by Mark’s second mistress, which in turn leads all three women to decide to conspire against him for his cheating ways.

Many male reviewers hated the film for its apparent "un-feminism" and "making the man the centre of the story". Indeed, The Other Woman is far from flawless – Carly’s father is a clichéd rich man with a succession of (implausibly) young and beautiful wives, which is completely unnecessary – but what makes this film enjoyable, and presumably why women respond so well to it, is that while the focus of the film is the man who cheated, he has barely any significant screen time or dialogue. In fact, the confrontation at the end of the film is an exceedingly bizarre scene, and when Mark does speak, it is as a caricature of the egocentric male, repeatedly calling the women ‘girls’ to cement our dislike.

But perhaps it is not so important that he is drawn in a balanced way – the centre of the film is the three female friends and they are funny. This is a (fairly) recognisable way woman live by normal Hollywood standards. Imagine. We’re not all best friends with our cheating partner’s other woman and his other other woman, but choosing to blame the guy who is the problem rather than taking it out on the woman is – sadly – refreshing.