The First Wives Club

1996

The First Wives Club

Critics Consensus

First Wives Club is headlined by a trio of comedic dynamos, but the script lets them down with tepid plotting and a fatal lack of satirical bite.

49%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 70

68%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 62,568
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The First Wives Club Photos

Movie Info

In this comedy-drama, a former classmate's suicide reunites three middle-aged college friends from the class of '69. These classmates have something in common -- their husbands all left them for younger women. Together the scorned women formulate plans exquisitely designed to make their ex-husbands lives as miserable as possible.

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Cast

Bette Midler
as Brenda Morelli Cushman
Goldie Hawn
as Elise Elliot Atchison
Diane Keaton
as Annie MacDuggan Paradise
Dan Hedaya
as Morty Cushman
Stockard Channing
as Cynthia Swann Griffin
Victor Garber
as Bill Atchison
Maggie Smith
as Gunilla Garson Goldberg
Bronson Pinchot
as Duarto Feliz
Elizabeth Berkley
as Phoebe LaVelle
Jennifer Dundas
as Chris Paradise
Eileen Heckart
as Catherine MacDuggan
Heather Locklear
as Gil's wife
Stephen Collins
as Aaron Paradise
Marcia Gay Harden
as Dr. Leslie Rosen
Philip Bosco
as Uncle Carmine
Rob Reiner
as Dr. Morris Packman
James Naughton
as Gil Griffin
Ari Greenberg
as Jason Cushman
Ivana Trump
as Herself
Ed Koch
as Himself
Stephen Pearlman
as Mr. Christian
J. Smith-Cameron
as Ms. Sullivan
Walter Bobbie
as Man in Bed
Kate Burton
as Woman in Bed
Gregg Edelman
as Mark Loest
Mark Nelson
as Eric Loest
Harsh Nayyar
as Mohammed
Sue Simmons
as Newscaster
Timothy Olyphant
as Brett Artounian
J.K. Simmons
as Federal Marshall
Stephen Mendillo
as Federal Marshall
Peter Frechette
as Broadway Director
Mark Perman
as The Cantor
Armand Dahan
as Contractor
Lea De Laria
as Elise's Fan
Debra Monk
as Jilted Lover
Jennifer Lam
as Chris's Friend
Michele Brilliant
as Young Brenda
Dina Spybey
as Young Elise
Adria Tennor
as Young Annie
Juliehera DeStefano
as Young Cynthia
Paul Hecht
as `A Certain Age' Cast Member
Anne Shropshire
as `A Certain Age' Cast Member
Chelsea Altman
as `A Certain Age' Cast Member
Eric Martin Brown
as `A Certain Age' Cast Member
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News & Interviews for The First Wives Club

Critic Reviews for The First Wives Club

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (20)

  • In the end, "The First Wives Club" even betrays its own bylaws. Revenge is a dish not served. Did Thelma and Louise make their sacrifice for nothing?

    Jan 8, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Oh, the stories Hawn, Midler and Keaton could tell about men. But we never get to hear them in "The First Wives Clubs." Instead, it's high jinks as they plot revenge, get the money.

    Jan 8, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Although the movie presents itself as a ''hear me roar'' feminist statement, its view of humanity - both male and female - is so sour and artificial that the women characters come off almost as badly as the men do.

    Jan 8, 2019 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Yet the real genius of this saga of sisterhood ascendant is its, um, marriage of revenge fantasy and exuberant spirit.

    Jan 8, 2019 | Full Review…
  • These three powerhouse comediennes toss up a fairly delightful mess.

    Feb 26, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • The First Wives Club has all the conviction a comedy of female vengeance needs. But as soon as the dumb plot takes over, the wit leaks out of the movie like helium from a balloon.

    Sep 7, 2011 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The First Wives Club

  • Jun 02, 2013
    It makes no sense and its not that funny . . . except for Goldie Hawn (who again is the high point of a terrible comedy), but all they really have her do is act drunk.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 24, 2012
    A powerfully girl powered chick flick that is full of laughs and feel-good moments. Feminists will love this one because it's all about three women who plot revenge on their two-timing husbands. The three characters are very well developed and I felt like they could almost be real people going through real problems. I felt their pain and cheered for them all the way!
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2011
    Three former college chums, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler now middle-aged wives, have been brought together by the death of one of their group, who committed suicide when her husband ditched her. As the plot develops it turns that each of their husbands is ditching them for a younger girl/woman. They form the "First Wives Club" to plot exquisite revenge against their philandering husbands. Look out for cameo guest appearances by Ivana Trump and Heather Locklear. I think some women will relate to this because it is all about revenge on the males and a terrific movie to watch if you have just been dumped, broken up with someone, and would love to get back at your scum partners.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2009
    The First Wives Club should have been a much better movie than it is. All of the elements are there to make its comedy not only dark, but biting, cruel, politically incorrect and not tack on the saccharine, cloying mess that pretends to be an ending. Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn do better with what little material they've been given while still being little more than caricatures. Goldie Hawn at least does poke fun at Hollywood's treatment of actresses which may also be at her own "persona" which has refused to age, but other than that, there's not much bite in her resolve to do her husband in. Then we have the supporting characters, none which fare any better. None of the younger women are written as little more as props, though at least Sarah Jessica Parker has a couple of lines that hint of a different version of Carrie Bradshaw. Stockard Channing's death scene is so badly filmed it might as well been an afterthought from another movie that somehow found its way here. It just proves that a bad screenplay filled with unsympathetic characters will kill the central idea in a story, but also, that an equally bad direction with odd takes and bad editing will further the damage.
    Steven V Super Reviewer

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