The First Wives Club

Released 1996


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Movie Summary

Hugh Wilson (I)
The First Wives Club is 1996 comedy film based on the novel of the same name by Olivia Goldsmith. When Cynthia Griffin (Stockard Channing) graduates college with her friends Elise Elliot (Goldie Hawn), Brenda Morelli (Bette Midler), and Annie MacDuggan (Diane Keaton), she makes them promise that they will be there for each other for the rest of their lives. A flash-forward 30 years shows that they have drifted apart, their promise forgotten. Cynthia mails letters to her old friends before committing suicide after learning that her husband has left her for a younger woman. When Elise, Brenda, and Annie unite for her funeral, they find that they still have plenty in common with each other and with Cynthia, and they form the First Wives Club as a support group for getting older and their husband’s dalliances with younger women. Elise is divorced from her husband Bill (Victor Garber), who left her for a younger woman, and a movie star whose career has changed as a result of her age, and she has turned to alcoholism and plastic surgery to try to salvage it, Annie is separated and going through therapy with her husband, and Brenda is struggling financially after her ex Morty (Dan Hedaya) left her for his mistress. They decide that they are going to get revenge on their exes, enlisting Annie’s daughter Chris (Jennifer Dundas) to help them find information. Brenda finds Morty guilty of tax evasion, and Annie realizes she can buy out Aaron’s business partners. After a struggle to find anything that causes a fight between the three, Bill is found to be dating a minor (Elizabeth Berkeley). Now that they have everything they need, the club can put their plan into action, until they start to doubt the appeal of the low road.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Variety Leonard Klady

    The familiar setup sparkles a little brighter here thanks to the ensemble and their deft delivery of the bitchy dialogue in Robert Harling's adaptation of the Olivia Goldsmith novel.

  • 70

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    The film is played as witchy, all-star vamping with a lethal sting. What makes its premise especially funny is that, at heart, it's no laughing matter.

  • 60

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Yet with so much going for it, the film's creators have made the classic Hollywood choice and treated its actresses like flesh-and-blood special effects. If you've got talent like ...

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