Female Perversions (1997)

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Movie Info

This fascinating, fragmented and complex drama eschews traditional narrative structure to present an intellectually challenging, feminist-oriented adaptation of Lousie J. Kaplan's book Female Perversions: The Tempations of Emma Bovary. Though the text, written from a Freudian perspective, is a series of case studies, the film centers on one character, Eve, an talented lawyer, who celebrates winning a case against a crooked business magnate. Eve dreams of becoming a judge, but when she gets a chance to meet the governor she finds herself filled with self-doubt and fear. She compensates for her lack of self-esteem by buying expensive clothing and make up. To make matters worse, Eve is an extremely sexual woman and with no regard to propriety hastily involves herself with Renee, a psychiatrist who has just moved into Eve's building. Meanwhile Eve's sister Madelyn has just been arrested for shoplifting. Madelyn is mentally unstable and when Eve learns of her trouble, she runs to the old boarding house where Madelyn stays. There in the ramshackle room Eve discovers that Madelyn has a few Super-8 films of her father's cruelty. Now both sisters must somehow come to grips with their own childhood pain and find some sense of control in their lives.
Rating: R (adult situations/language, sex)
Genre: Art House & International , Drama
Directed By: Susan Streitfeld
Written By: Julie Hébert , Julie Hebert , Susan Streitfeld
In Theaters: wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Trimark

Cast

Amy Madigan
as Madelyn
Frances Fisher
as Annunciata
John Diehl
as Jake Rock
Shawnee Smith
as Make-up Salesgirl
Nina Wise
as Lingerie Saleswoman
Judy Jean Berns
as Boutique Saleswoman
J. Patrick McCormack
as Wallace Leishman
Elizabeth Cava
as Female Jail Guard
Scotch Ellis Loring
as Joey/Cab Driver
John Cassini
as Gas Station Attendant
Rick Zieff
as Office Boy
Marcia Cross
as Eve's Mother
Don Gettinger
as Eve's Father
Marra Racz
as Earthwoman
Russ Gething
as Courthouse Guard
Bailee Bileschi
as Young Eve
Kim Blank
as Mother in Boutique
Robert Rider
as Old Man in Boutique
Bea Marcus
as Old Lady on Bus Bench
Jim James
as Detective
Evangelina Rodriguez
as Latina Corn Seller
Kirstie Tyrone
as Young Madelyn
Tere Wierson
as Caryatid in Fantasy
Rana Joy Glickman
as Caryatid in Fantasy
Viktor Manoel
as Caryatid in Fantasy
Torry Pendergrass
as Caryatid in Fantasy
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News & Interviews for Female Perversions

Critic Reviews for Female Perversions

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (10)

The women (played by Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan) are so intriguing and complex that they almost overcome the trappings of a non-linear narrative that's borderline academic.

Full Review… | June 27, 2006
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The result is short on plot but long on observational detail and psychological resonance.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Even if it works better as a provocative psychological treatise than as art, it does come alive and does provide major roles for Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

This is the kind of movie you can't stop thinking about.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Taken as a whole, this is not a product of the cookie cutter and should be of interest to the adventurous filmgoer.

December 31, 1999
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Female Perversions

Aptly named, this film depicts several activities labeled perverse by society at large, yet through those revelations we come to understand the demons that Evelyn (Tilda Swinton) is facing down. Strong performances by Swinton and Amy Madigan, as her (younger? older?) sister, Madelyn propel the film. Both women are successful, Evelyn as an attorney being considered for a judgeship, and Madelyn as a doctoral candidate about to make her oral defense of her thesis, and both women get a less than enthusiastic response from their emotionally distant father when they try to share their news. Excellent use of dreams, fantasy, and flashback to help the viewer understand Evelyn's fragility and somewhat self-destructive behaviors. Good supporting cast, with only a couple of weak links, and an interesting side-story concerning a young girl struggling with identity issues helped to keep it from veering off into pure psycho-drama. Good to see Karen Sillas, a personal favorite in a small role here.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

The women (played by Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan) are so intriguing and complex that they almost overcome the trappings and limitations of a non-linear narrative that borders on the academic/didactic/pedantic. Almost.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

As far as late night movies go, this one deserves some recognition. with a very well done performance from Tilda Swinton, and smooth direction the movie seems pretty good. Aparently adapted from the novel from a feminest and I can see how. The movie screams on just how the female mind works, for that this really is a chick flick. I've seen some wierd movies, but this one is one of the wierdest. Pretty good, with a decent morality rate, and good heart to the profoundness, keep such in depth to the reality behind on what the movie is based on. the movie takes on what so few movies dare to follow.

Joe Elizondo
Joe Elizondo

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