The Group - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Group Reviews

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April 30, 2013
The film is at least 1/2 hour too long. While screenwriter Sidney Buchman tries his best to do justice to all the subplots in the story, eight protagonists is - ultimately - too many.
½ December 3, 2012
Is this a good movie? No. But it certainly is an entertaining soap opera, filled with hysterics and overwrought melodrama. I almost want to give this five stars. Hard to believe that the same director would later make 'Dog Day Afternoon.' Oh, it's worth watching just to see a young Jessica Walter (Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development).
½ November 13, 2012
if u like 'payton place' you'll love this soapy melodrama
½ June 13, 2012
sidney lumet directs great performances from all his actors, particularly shirley knight, elizabeth hartman, jessica walters, and joanna pettet. while "the group" might be longer than it needs to be, with storylines that easily could have been cut, it's still a well made film that is as interesting at the end as it was at the begining.
November 11, 2011
I saw this movie many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are wonderful performances by Joan Hackett and Jessica Walter and as an ensemble piece it works really well. Candice Bergman makes an early appearance as a beautiful lesbian but doesn't have much dialogue. Set during the second world war, it shows the USA (and the role of women) at a time of enormous change. The women (the 'Group') are all fresh out of university but still destined for lives as wives, mothers and lovers. 'The Group' is based on Mary McCarthy's novel of the same name and is in essence, a snapshot of the time in which it is set. Some of the group do make it further in life but their lives as women is engulfed by their lives as someone else's 'property' or 'carer', interesting film which keeps you watching to the end.
August 6, 2011
Semi-satisfying soap opera -- great performances by the cavalcade of stars, but the focus jumps around too much among the many characters to truly know or care about any of them. Interesting period piece, but I'd rather read the book.
July 17, 2011
streaming on NETFLIX
March 14, 2011
Sidney Lumet is a masterful craftsman of socially aware drama that tackles important cultural questions, and even for its time, which was a time of radical social change that beginning to reflect on theater screens, The Group treated some divisive themes, for example the association of free love with progressive social revolution, and depicting it as a forerunner of a new anti-fascistic, anti-oppressive awareness and critique of marriage as a form of social bondage, not to mention contraception, abortion, lesbianism and mental illness. And owing to Lumet's subtle use of technical skills, The Group---possibly his biggest, least characteristic and least considered film---is a skillfully paced and giftedly acted adaptation of Mary McCarthy's novel charting the kismet of eight Vassar graduates, class of '33, up to the start of WWII. Sidney Buchman's script does some outstanding couture work on the material, clipping away all the adipose tissue and slashing the remaining into hundreds of pointed little scenes which are assembled as a charmingly droll montage of the decade, though Lumet's concerns are towards the thematic nature of McCarthy's story rather than the setting.

Joanna Pettet is quite convincing as the one who marries Larry Hagman's prototype self-destructive aspiring writer, there's an impressive debut by Kathleen Widdoes, and as does the great Hal Holbrook, and Candice Bergen as a Paris refugee who returns courted by a German countess. But the most memorable performance for me is by Jessica Walter, who is now exercising great comic ability on a wholly new generation of television such as Arrested Development and Archer. There is a real conflict between who she is on the inside and out that she portrays so authentically and epitomizes a familiar but difficult-to-depict personality. Also Joan Hackett, in a BAFTA-nominated debut performance of her own, provides an especially varied array of emotional conversion. And willowy, eye-catching ginger leading lady Elizabeth Hartman displays her versatility between her upper-class collegiate role here and the capricious, heartbreaking flirt she played in Francis Ford Coppola's debut film You're a Big Boy Now the same year.

Director of Long Day's Journey into Night, The Pawnbroker, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon and Network, Lumet is noted for drawing award-winning performances from his casts. Chiefly cunning in this, his tenth film, is the way in which the girls, each one elegantly and idiosyncratically characterized, are seen to develop individually. For example viewing the Hackett of the closing scenes, bigheaded wife of an Arizona oil-man, subtly changing physically as well, and almost certainly a mainstay of the local ladies' league, and recalling her first, desperately bold affair with a Greenwich Village painter, one thinks with amazement that's just how she might become.

With Boris Kaufman's superbly striking cinematography to appreciate, the Kurosawa-style multi-plane tableaux of various characters in single painterly shots, demonstrating a poetic and caring property in his capturing of these layered images, a quality that marked his extraordinarily noble career, The Group is a vividly experiential chronicle of the girl-to-woman sexual and social transitions as the characters try on sex, religion and politics. It's the thinking viewer's Sex and the City.
February 7, 2011
Deep twisted movie!!

I guess history does repeat itself ;)
Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2010
(1966 Director: Sidney Lumet) Only a select few of the many movies I have viewed make it to my "Must See" list, but this is definitely one of them! Although it begins as something of a creeper, old-fashioned and slower moving, the pace quickens as the lives of 8 close female college friends from the Class of '33 change and progress. All attended an elite women's college, which does, of course, make them far from the norm of their day (the 1930's up through 1941 and the declaration of war).

Director Sidney Lumet follows the lives of . Obviously, these are women from privileged families, beautiful women each of them, with strong friendships between them. I hadn't reaized there 8 in total until near the end of the film, when one of the last "hold-outs" finally marries a charming and successful man, and her new husband announces, "WIen I married I didn't realize I was marrying my wife and her 7 friends!"

Some smashing performances, including the performance of Larry Hagman who co-stars as the alcoholic actor/writer husband of Kay (Joanna Pettet), a vibrant and politically minded young lady. Larry descends into the depths of his alcoholism, cheating and eventually turning to physical abuse of Kay, something Kay has kept a secret from even her close friends.

Several of these women do marry and at least 3 have children. The rest either do not marry very young or remain childless, a situation somewhat unusual for a woman if you consider the time period==which by the way is pre--WW II! [more review to follow]
May 2, 2010
This film does a nice job of moving among the stories of the eight main characters, especially since the relationships between them inform the questions of class, politics, and sex that bounce around from beginning to end. The acting is really great, too-- even though it's crazy weird to see Candice Bergen and Jessica Walter as 20-somethings.
February 21, 2010
Loved the book. Wondered how they'd ever commit it to film, particularly before 1969. As I feared, the book's political notes and explicit sexuality are excised or subverted. Shame. Would love to see it as an HBO mini-series made now.
½ December 15, 2009
Read the book first then see the movie. An interesting look at a rare group of women. You'll hate Major Nelson by the end.
½ August 5, 2009
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October 23, 2008
this film is an antidote to 1939's the women. it's a story of eight vassar graduates and their clashes with society as they try to embody the ideal of the 'modern woman'. some are cowed, other meet a tragic end and some choose to live a life on the margin of society. which is which? watch the movie and find out!
½ November 12, 2007
Fascinating topics for the time period.
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