Les Bonnes Femmes (The Good Girls)

Critics Consensus

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80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 5

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 973
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Movie Info

The four young women work at the same place and each has to put up with a lecherous supervisor who talks out of one side of his mouth about good morals while the other side has the opposite message. One of the women, Jane (Bernadette Lafont) fixes herself up in a somewhat vulgar manner and goes out to pick up men, which fails to produce any real love. Another wants to marry a man whose family runs a respectable store. Another sings -- incognito -- with a pop band, while the last, Jacqueline (Clothilde Joano) is pursued by a biker. The film details their doomed attempts to find romance.

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Critic Reviews for Les Bonnes Femmes (The Good Girls)

All Critics (5)

Audience Reviews for Les Bonnes Femmes (The Good Girls)

  • Aug 27, 2014
    The central theme is the Parisian woman. The main aspect is the pursuit of love. A commentary on contemporary French society in the subtext realm, <i>Les Bonnes Femmes</i> is a product intentionally and equally effectively inconsistent in tone, but not uneven in pacing and focused on the point. Several women - two protagonists, and at least three secondary female characters - have only one thing in common: the place where they work. Still, each woman has a life of her own, surrounded by disappointment, as if they had an idealistic concept of love in a world which trends and fads might be signs of a slowly decaying society: alcoholism, chauvinism, prostitution, cabarets, and all the remaining components of the nightlife in modern Paris. Analyzing the whole sequences, pattterns emerge. One pessimistic sequence is followed by a delightful one, where sudden bursts of humor overshadow the scary aura of the previous one, while simultaneously preparing us for the next one. A disturbing night club with strippers and men wearing pig masks is followed by a cheerful zoo sequence and a man declaring two poems with constant interruptions of humorous tones. A stalker in a motorcycle following the group of women precedes the strangest and most invigorating swimming pool sequence in cinema. These vague references mirror the randomness of life itself, which has a full arsenal of contradictory emotions prepared for us, whether we are ready for them or not. Technical innovation is everywhere, but Chabrol also makes sure to break the tradition of classic Hollywood moviemaking utilizing an uncommon storytelling structure of epic proportions. Truly, this is a massive project from an emotional point of view, especially the concept of love. It is also confusing. The group of characters are shown as women who seem to have hope for a dead ideal of love in a rotten society, but then again the film seems to give some rays of light and hope. An extraordinary project unlike anything I had seen before it, <i>Les Bonnes Femmes</i> tries to mirror the versatility of life seen through the eyes of an idealized concept stuck in the middle of self-destructive tendencies without being sensationalist. Chabrol still remains as the darkest and most disturbing Nouvelle Vague director who keeps assaulting the sensibility of the viewer in the cruelest of psychological forms, this case being a nonstop stream of cognitive dissonance, including his debut (a Hitchcock homage) and one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen: <i>Les Cousins</i> (1959). 94/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2011
    Claude Chabrol's Les Bonnes Femmes is a scathing indictment of a patriarchal society that actively suppresses the female spirit. From the onset, Chabrol showcases a vacuous and grim Paris that is void of the charm and romantic sentiment that the city is associated with. Instead we are introduced to a group of women who are mired in an oppressive city in which men's impetus for courting is due to the thrill of the hunt rather than the longing for companionship. Even the smallest attempts in asserting feminine independence are ferociously mocked. When Jane, played brilliantly by Bernadette Lafont, reprimands her suitor for habitually calling her by the wrong name, she is ridiculed for her outburst and the men continue to tease the idea of the "eternal feminine." Chabrol also has a strip show taking place in the background during this scene to show how the objectification of women always looms around these characters. Even in some of the most seemingly arid scenes Chabrol always features a man in the scene looking over the women's shoulders or encroaching on their personal space. These women become so starved for genuine affection that they are willing to put up with a relationship which censors their individuality. Or in the case of Jacqueline (Clotilde Joano), are willing to assume that a mysterious stalker just might be a chivalrous paramour. Although Chabrol is accredited with being one of the premiere filmmakers of the French New Wave, his film doesn't feature many of the stylistic hallmarks that other films of this ilk utilize. While lovers of the French New Wave may be dismayed by the film's austerity, one should not let this take away from the fact that it is a wonderfully crafted film which features some incredibly poignant moments. It isn't an uplifting watch, but Chabrol's passion for this subject truly shines through. It is a film that demands your attention and it is one that should not be skipped over.
    Reid V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2008
    We are all aware of the genius of Godard and Truffaut, but Claude Chabrol's early film seems to be a bit of an unsung gem of the Nouvelle Vague. Four carefree young girls, including Bernadette Lafont and Stephane Audren, look for love and romance in a stunningly photographed Paris with some harsh consequences. Simply brilliant.
    Emily B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 10, 2008
    I wanted to know more about that Bernadette Lafont character, but they left her and failed to sub in anyone as interesting.
    Tom S Super Reviewer

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