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WHAT WOMEN WANT
The movie illustrates well how important it is to have significance in our lives.
Review by SCOTT CRIPPS



(2000)


This page was created on December 14, 2000
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

SEE PHOTO GALLERY on page two

Directed by Nancy Meyers
Writing credits: Story: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa and Diane Drake
Screenplay: Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa

Mel Gibson .... Nick Marshall
Helen Hunt .... Darcy Maguire
Marisa Tomei, Bette Midler, Lauren Holly, Mark Feuerstein, Alan Alda
Valerie Perrine .... Margo
Logan Lerman .... Little Nick Marshall

Produced by Bruce A. Block (co-producer), Susan Cartsonis, Bruce Davey, Carmen Finestra (executive), Gina Matthews, Stephen McEveety (executive), David McFadzean (executive), Nancy Meyers, Matt Williams
Original music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography by Dean Cundey
Film Editing by Thomas J. Nordberg and Stephen A. Rotter

Rated PG


QuickTime 4.9MB
QuickTime 8.5MB
QuickTime 17.8MB
QuickTime 37.0MB
He has the power to hear everything women are thinking. Finally... a man is listening.
STUDIO SYNOPSIS:
A Chicago advertising exec, Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson) gets a whole new outlook on life when a fluke accident gives him the ability to read women's minds. At first, this "gift" provides Nick with way too much information, but he begins to realize that he can use it to good effect, especially when it comes to outwitting his new boss, Darcy McGuire (Helen Hunt). In spite of his best efforts to finesse Darcy, he soon finds himself falling in love and ultimately understanding what women want.
© 2000 Paramount Pictures
SYNOPSIS AND REVIEW BY DAVID BRUCE
NICK'S MOTHER WAS A SHOW GIRL.Click to enlarge
Nick was raised in a "woman as sex object" world. The story reflects the "man's world" of the sexist 50 and 60s.
NICK GREW UP TO BE THE ULTIMATE WOMANIZER.Click to enlarge
Nick is divorced, an absentee father and a philanderer. He has placed his career and lusts before family and genuine relationships.

NICK WOULD TELL SEXIST JOKES AT THE OFFICE.Click to enlarge
Everyone laughs, but everyone resents the chauvinistic and macho Nick. He is blind and can not see (or hear) the inner struggle and pain in those around him. He is very self centered.


NICK IS SECURE UNTIL HE IS INTRODUCED TO HIS NEW BOSS DARCY -A WOMAN.
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LEARNING TO MARKET TO WOMEN.Click to enlarge
In order to keep his job, Nick has to think of creative ways to market to women. His research includes dressing up like a woman.
HE FALLS, BLACKS OUT, HE WAKES UP IN THE MORNING -A NEW MAN.Click to enlarge
All the symbols of rebirth are employed. His accident happens as he tries to incarnate as a woman. He is knocked out (sleep/death) by an "accidental" electrical shock. The special lightning effects and the camera's downward view suggests divine intent and purpose.

THE EFFECT OF THE ACCIDENTClick to enlarge
Nick can now hear the inner thoughts of women. He knows what they think.

His journey of discovering those around him has begun.


FROM BLACK (MALENESS) TO WHITE (FEMININITY).
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Click to enlargeIn the film, Darcy and women are usually dressed in white or light colors. Men, and especially Nick, are dressed in black. As Nick transforms so does his clothing. The film ends with Nick dressed in a white suit.
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THE FATHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIPClick to enlarge
Nick comes to realize how placing his career before his family has lead to divorce with his wife and alienation with his daughter. Listening and unselfish behavior helps Nick become the father his daughter needs.

His journey brings "color" into his black and white world. The scene in which he helps his daughter try on various colors of dresses, and the colorful prom dance underscore Nick's development.

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LISTENING
The key truth in this film underscores something we all know, but often over look. And that is the power of simply listening to other people and being there for them.

The three most important things to do in a conversation:
1. Listen
2. Listen
3. Listen

WHAT WOMEN WANT
Review by SCOTT CRIPPS

Scott is married, has a little one on the way, and is a youth pastor for Westview Baptist Church here Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Movies are a large part of his life which he enjoys with his wife.

MEL GIBSON IS LIKE PLATO'S GYGES
The great, ancient Greek philosopher Plato in his book, The Republic, describes a certain character named Glaucon, who argues that justice needs to be coerced because people on their own would choose to be unjust. Glaucon states that if given the opportunity to not be accountable for their actions the just and the unjust man would follow the same path to achieve the desired end. In fact he goes on to state that all people would behave unjustly if they could get away with it. To illustrate this point Glaucon tells a story about a shepherd named Gyges. One day Gyges comes upon a chasm in the ground that an earthquake opened up and in it he finds a ring. As he was attending a meeting of all the shepherds later that week he fumbled with the ring and turned the stone inward. Upon doing this he discovered that he was invisible and that if he turned the stone outward, he would regain his visibility. Once he discovered the power of this ring he soon got a job at the palace and in no time at all he seduced the queen and killed the king and thus became King of Lydia.

Click to enlargeMel Gibson plays a character named Nick who is given the same opportunity in a sense that Gyges was. He can't turn invisible but he can hear what women are thinking without them knowing thus he has access to very privileged information. The question is does Nick prove Glaucon correct and act unjustly with his ability because he can get away with it or does he side with Socrates who argues for justice being the greatest good. Go see the film to find out the answer!

FREUD'S QUESTION
The movie itself is not that outstanding, in fact there are much better movies in the theaters now that I would recommend before this one, but a few very interesting issues are tackled in this film. There is a long running joke that you hear time and time again regarding how inept men are in understanding women. It is this point that the movie is based upon. Books such as "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" fill the shelves in bookstores as everyone is trying to cash in on the supposed phenomenon regarding the differences between men and women. In fact the movie stated that Sigmund Freud himself asked before he died "what do women want".

ABOUT WOMEN AND MEN
Click to enlargeWhat Women Want takes a very interesting approach to this issue. It is seen through Nick, a chauvinistic, macho type of guy who loses out on a promotion to a woman, Darcy. Nick thinking he should have the job uses his ability to hear what women are thinking to try and get her out of the job and him into it. The movie is interesting because it is based around the advertising world where both Nick and Darcy work. Click to enlargeThis is interesting because the advertising world is usually the first place people point a finger at for propagating the myth that women are merely useful for their bodies and looks not for their intellect. The movie does a good job in demonstrating the gain women have made in terms how they are viewed in today's society as opposed to 10-20 years ago. Nick represents the old mindset whereas Darcy introduces to the new mindset. It is important that the film depicts women as being successful and intelligent but it perhaps goes a little too far when it states that the 21st century is the woman's world. Click to enlarge
On the whole though, the transformation witnessed in Nick's life is very much the transformation that has and is occurring in society where the knight in shinning armor rescuing the damsel in distress could now be a woman rescuing a man in trouble. The Bible itself that men and women are equal (Galatians 3:28) and has women such as Deborah (Judges 4-5) and Rahab (Joshua 2,6) rescuing men in trouble.

BEING HEARD. BEING LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY.Click to enlarge
Another issue that What Women Want draws out is the issue of significance. The movie illustrates well how important it is to have significance in our lives. We need to mean something to someone and this movie shows what happens when we forget that everyone has significance and importance in and of themselves regardless of their social standing or vocation. Nick hears the thoughts of a young mail delivery girl in his advertising agency and he realizes that this girl feels very alone and that no one would miss her if she was gone. Click to enlargeUpon coming to the office one day and hearing that she is not there he rushes to find out where she lives to get there before she commits suicide. All she needed was someone to tell her that they care, and that she is important which Nick does, thus bringing a smile to her and saving her from suicide. It is inevitable that someone you love and care for will let you down or disappoint you in some way. Often we don't feel nearly as appreciated as we should and that's sometimes when depression can sink in. Having a sense of significance that is always there, knowing that you are always loved unconditionally is something only God can offer for "God is love". (1 John 4:16)

THE ONE WHO HEARS OUR THOUGHTS.Click to enlarge
Finally, with a movie where one character can hear what other characters are thinking it really makes you think what if that could really happen. Within the confines of our minds our deepest, darkest secrets can remain hidden away, our goals and ambitions can be formulated and our memories can be replayed again and again all without anyone bothering us and we enjoy this. The fact of the matter is that our minds are not impervious to God, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." (Psalm 139:23) As well, Jesus himself when he walked the earth could read the thoughts of men, "Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, 'Why do you entertain such evil thoughts in your heart?'" (Matthew 9:4). In some ways it is frightening knowing that God knows our thoughts and our inner most being but on the other hand, it makes his love for us that much more amazing. He loves us completely, thoughts and all. "The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." (Psalm 147:11)

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