8 Femmes is stagy in its appearance, over-the-top in its abundance of plot twists and its musical numbers really grated on me. Based on those elements alone I should have struggled to make it through this film and yet, ultimately, I enjoyed it.
This supremely silly film has an utterly charming cast, led by the wonderful Catherine Deneuve, and what initially feel like hokey production values helped me grab onto the idea that the film is a homage to twist-filled murder mysteries (and movie musicals) of the 1950s.
I never grew to like the film's pop music score but I was amused by the elements I recognized from the genre. All are present and correct - the cut telephone wire, the unclimbable wall, the sabotaged car engine... Waiting for each of these elements to be checked off becomes part of the fun of the film.
Without spoiling the murder mystery's solution, I was not as satisfied with it as I had been with the build-up. I found it to be neither especially amusing, nor particularly dramatic. After a long build up I was expecting more of a punch at the end.
So I emerged from the film uncertain of how I felt about it. There are some moments that are very funny and I certainly enjoyed the genre elements it included. It just never came together in a way that satisfied me, especially in its musical sequences.
Where does that leave me? Well, I enjoyed it more than I didn't. I laughed a fair bit and I'm still thinking about it. I can't consider the film a success but I'm definitely glad I spent an evening watching it.