Woman of the Year Reviews
Sam is a sports writer and Tess is a political writer for the same news paper. They decide to go to lunch one day, fall in love, and they eventually get married. Their relationship is strained by Tess's fast paced lifestyle and disregard for their relationship. Can Sam and Tess stay together or will their marriage end in a bitter divorce?
"This time I want to be a prize myself."
George Stevens, director of Shane, Giant, A Place in the Sun, Penny Serenade, Vivacious Lady, Laddie, The More the Merrier, and The Only Game in Town, delivers Woman of the Year. The storyline for this picture is a bit scattered but the characters are very interesting and well portrayed. The cast delivers excellent performances and includes Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Reginald Owen, William Bendix, Roscoe Karns.
"Our paper sends two men to cover this one game?"
I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) because it starred Spencer Tracy. He looked so young in this movie and his every interaction with Katherine Hepburn was perfect. This film is a rollercoaster that is delivered very well. I strongly recommend seeing this film if you're a fan of the classics.
"As a substitution he won't do."
Beware Spoilers lie below.
I'm warning you, I'll be dealing directly with the ending because the movie has been accused of sexism, an assessment I entirely disagree with. "Woman of the Year" is progressive and honest and I don't mean any of that "for its time" crap, I mean for our time too. Tess Harding is a career woman, the best there is at her job, I don't think I've seen a modern movie that has shown a sexier more in control one. She also can be selfish and headstrong, but she loves Sam, and Sam loves her for who she is. He doesn't want to tie her down, but what he does want is compromise. This movie tells us that marriage is work (a subject that Hollywood likes to ignore, it either is supposed to be bliss or a hell to be escaped), and that one member of a marriage can't steamroll over the other, regardless of sex. At the end of the movie Tess tries to win Sam back by proving to him that she can be the perfect housewife. It is only at this point that Sam says that he's disappointed in her. He doesn't want her to be just Mrs. Craig any more than he wants her to be just Tess Harding - he wants her to be Tess Harding Craig, the implication being that he wants her to continue her career (that after all was the woman he fell in love with), but perhaps he can be more important from time to time than a battleship christening. The fact that this ending has been widely criticized as sexist shows how scared people are of seeing compromise, and how quick people are to look down on previous generations in order to say how far we've come. I'm sorry but if anyone thinks that "How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days" or "No Strings Attached" is more progressive or feminist than "Woman of the Year" I'll have to throttle them. "Woman of the Year" says that a feminist might actually want to both have a career and a family, that marriage might be work, and that in the end neither of these facts are bad things. That takes guts. Try to find a similar message in a modern RomCom. I dare you.
The view on feminism can bother viewers today since (as in most of the Hepburn battle of the sexes films actually) no matter how strong the woman, no matter how enlightened the man, the message always seems to come down to "reign it in honey and learn how to cook".
If you haven't seen either this or "Adam's Rib", I advice you to see this one first, you'll enjoy it, and then watch the other one, so you can be surprised to see how that one improves upon a good thing.