The Group Reviews
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.
I guess history does repeat itself ;)
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]