15 Reasons “The First Wives Club” Is The Greatest Film Of All Time
Santa came early last week with news that national treasures Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler were reuniting for a Netflix movie. Of course the trio was last seen together in the 1996 classic The First Wives Club, as wronged women who band together for a big ol’ collective “You go, sister!”
Rife with killer one-liners, memorable cameos and perhaps the most perfect ending to a movie ever, Wives makes so-called “masterpieces” like Citizen Kane, The Godfather and Gone with the Wind look like the garbage they are.
It was a surprise box office hit when it premiered, but a sequel never materialized because the producers refused to pony up the necessary funds, as Goldie explained earlier this year:
“It made a lot of money. We were on the cover of Time magazine.
But two years later, when the studio came back with a sequel, they wanted to offer us exactly the same deal”¦ Had three men come in there, they would have upped their salaries without even thinking about it. But the fear of women’s movies is embedded in the culture.”
Twenty years later, that fear has dissipated–at least on Netflix. In celebration of Goldie, Bette and Diane’s upcoming new movie, Divinations, we remember the film that brought them together–and brought “I beat Meryl” into the cultural lexicon.
Here are 15 reasons The First Wives Club is the greatest film of all time.
Stockard F*cking Channing
In the mid-90s, Stockard really cornered the market on downtrodden women, and she kills her two minutes on screen as Cynthia Swann Griffin. She’s serving you a fur, a negligee, and not a single f*ck in the world–before deciding to do a jackknife off Park Avenue, thus setting the events of the film in motion.
Goldie Hawn’s face
Goldie really should’ve gotten an Oscar nomination for this role. I mean, everyone’s great, but she’s GENIUS as Elise Elliott, the aging actress who–with the help of a good plastic surgeon–refuses to let time’s inexorable march sully her.
Gunilla Garson Goldberg
Dame. Maggie. Smith.
When you need an imperious women quick with a side-eye and a cutting remark, you call up Mags. Gunilla is the queen of New York society and the empress (or at least the Dowager Countess) of throwing shade.
The commentary on women aging in Hollywood
Once an actress pass 40, good roles are harder to come by. But The First Wives Club proved that ladies Of a Certain Age (which, not-so-coincidentally, is the name of Elise’s comeback play) can still churn out a hit.
Before Big and Natasha, Sarah Jessica Parker played another other woman, Shelly–the bone-thin thorn in Brenda’s side who makes a play for Morty (Dan Hedaya).
Post-Showgirls Nomi Malone
Right after starring in the greatest worst movie of all time, 1995’s Showgirls, Elizabeth Berkley made a cameo as the starlet trying to steal Elise’s thunder–and her husband.
“I beat Meryl”
Clearly people who got angry at Jennifer Lawrence’s Golden Globes speech–Lohan–needed to brush up on their FWC quotes.
FWC holds a special place in many a gay heart not just because it’s incredibly campy, but it also stars three gay icons and noted allies. Annie (Diane Keaton)–having a daughter (Chris) who’s a lesbian (“a big one”)–doesn’t mind chucking a random lesbian on the shoulder and telling her how much she’s okay with everything she’s doing.
Some girls dance with women
Annie and the gals track down Chris at her favorite women-only watering hole, where Elise is a big fat sapphic hit. Meanwhile, I’ll relish any opportunity for Goldie to bust out her crazy white lady dance.
Goldie is the new black
In a brief cameo, a smitten Lea DeLaria tries to lock it down with Elise–but not on Brenda’s watch.
Stars have feelings, too
You think just because Elise is a movie star that she doesn’t have feelings. Well. You’re wrong.
The slap of love
Sometimes you gotta slap some sense into your bestie by bitch-slapping the shit out of them. After all, Elise, Annie and Brenda wouldn’t be throwing open-handed haymakers if they didn’t truly love one another.
Words of wisdom
Ivana Trump, fresh off divorcing the Donald, provides one of the movie’s most memorable lines. Too bad she didn’t literally get everything or we wouldn’t have to endure this alleged “campaign” for a Trump presidency.
The triumph of sisterhood
The 90s had some of the best movies featuring sisters doing it for themselves–the Thelma and Louises, the Boys on the Sideses, the Waiting to Exhales and Set It Offs.
First Wives Club delivered that message loud and clear. And in song.
“You Don’t Own Me”
What better way to end a film than a random musical number that makes absolutely no sense and comes seemingly out of nowhere?
Everything about this last scene is perfect: The ladies’ ivory, eggshell and ecru skirt/pantsuits, Bette Midler being Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn reminding us she’s a triple threat, Diane Keaton letting it all hang out.
Cue up the non-existent band and let’s all two-step down the road of life. Together.