8 Women

September 20th, 2002


more trailers 8 Women

(l to r) Ludivine Sagnier, Virginie Ledoyen, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Isabelle Huppert, Firmine Richard, and Emmanuelle Béart.(l to r) Virginie Ledoyen and Fanny ArdantPiers Handling at event of 8 WomenCatherine Deneuve (far left), Virginie Ledoyen (left), Ludivine Sagnier (bottom left), Danielle Darrieux (bottom center), Isabelle Huppert (middle center), Firmine Richard (top center), Emmanuelle Béart (right), and Fanny Ardant (far right).(l to r) Virginie Ledoyen, Danielle Darrieux, Fanny Ardant, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart and Ludivine Sagnier(l to r) Virginie Ledoyen, Catherine Deneuve and Ludivine Sagnier

One murdered man, eight women, each seeming to be more eager than the others to know the truth. Gimme, gimme, gimme some clues to make up my mind. And eventually enter the truth. Oh, thou cruel woman!

Release Year: 2002

Rating: 7.0/10 (15,802 voted)

Critic's Score: 64/100

Director: François Ozon

Stars: Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Danielle Darrieux

One morning at an isolated mansion in the snowy countryside of 1950s France, a family is gathered for the holiday season. But there will be no celebration at all because their beloved patriarch has been murdered! The killer can only be one of the eight women closest to the man of the house. Was it his powerful wife? His spinster sister-in-law? His miserly mother-in-law? Maybe the insolent chambermaid or the loyal housekeeper? Could it possibly have been one of his two young daughters? A surprise visit from the victim's chic sister sends the household into a tizzy, encouraging hysterics, exacerbating rivalries, and encompassing musical interludes. Comedic situations arise with the revelations of dark family secrets. Seduction dances with betrayal. The mystery of the female psyche is revealed. There are eight women and each is a suspect. Each has a motive. Each has a secret. Beautiful, tempestuous, intelligent, sensual, and dangerous...one of them is guilty. Which one is it?

Writers: François Ozon, Robert Thomas

Danielle Darrieux - Mamy
Catherine Deneuve - Gaby
Isabelle Huppert - Augustine
Emmanuelle Béart - Louise
Fanny Ardant - Pierrette
Virginie Ledoyen - Suzon
Ludivine Sagnier - Catherine
Firmine Richard - Madame Chanel
Dominique Lamure - Marcel, the husband

Taglines: Living in a house full of women can be murder.


Official Website: 8femmes-lefilm.com [France] | Official site [Italy] |

Release Date: 20 September 2002

Box Office Details

Budget: €8,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $52,088 (Argentina) (13 August 2002) (20 Screens)

Gross: $19,236,000 (France) (22 October 2002)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Louise shows a photo of her former employer, it is a picture of Romy Schneider.

Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): On two occasions the ladies refer to the gun as a revolver but it is clearly a semi-automatic pistol.

[first lines]
[in French, using English subtitles]
Suzon: I'm going in, Mom.

User Review

These ladies kick ass!

Rating: 10/10

'8 Women' is a rather unique film. On the surface it is the probably only entry in the genre of the grotesque whodunit-musical. But actually, it's a huge playground - for the actresses who get the chance to play with the stereotypes attached to them, and for director François Ozon to toy with the clichés of the whodunit.

Here's the setup: 1950s. A beautiful mansion. A man is found lying in his bed with a knife in his back. The possible suspects: His wife, his two daughters, his sister, his mother-in-law, his sister-in-law, the chambermaid and the cook. As these eight women can't leave the estate or call the police, they try to find the murderer themselves. We know this situation from countless Agatha Christie-stories.

But what Ozon makes of this situation is just incredible. It already begins with the casting: Who else could play the gentrified Gaby if not Catherine Deneuve? Is there any actress who would fit more perfectly for the role of the spinsterish sister than Isabelle Huppert? Who else would you want to walk around in that dress of a chambermaid than the most desirable Emmanuelle Béart? The actresses are eagerly playing with the stereotypes that surround them because of both, the roles they played and their private lives.

Then there's the story: All whodunits have those obligatory scenes where the motives of all characters are revealed. '8 Women' takes that formula and deliberately goes over the top with it, it's characters are unfaithful, pregnant, lesbian, poisoners and many things more. And as a final twist, the film stops eight times to give each of its protagonists a chance to reveal her true character in a scene entirely devoted to them - singing and dancing. There is also another scene worth mentioning that is entirely dedicated to the actresses: A scene with a lot of dialog that entirely consists of nothing but a series of closeups - and that for about three minutes.

Cinephiles can enjoy this film on even another level: The film is filled with references to beloved classics. Consider Fanny Ardant's musical number, which pays homage to Rita Hayworth's glove-strip in 'Gilda', and another Rita Hayworth-moment so wonderful I won't reveal it here. Consider Emmanuelle Béarts hairstyle that echoes Kim Novak in 'Vertigo'. Consider the fact that the late husband of the Dannielle Darrieux character was a general, reminding us of 'Madame de...'. Or consider the painting of the young Catherine Deneuve hanging in one room - a replica of a 'Belle de jour'-poster. All this is supported by the rich, colorful cinematography, the art direction and the costumes, that give the entire film a 1950s look.

But attention: If you give this film a chance, don't expect it to be logically consistent. It isn't. But that doesn't matter at all. The murder mystery story is replaceable. The film is entirely devoted to its brilliant actresses and the wonderful, bitchy dialog they exchange. It's great fun and it is getting better with every viewing.