Doctor T and the Women
Rating = B+
Altman all the way: a
buzz of people talking at the same time, a couple of dozen quirky
mostly women characters, everyones' foibles on display, no clear point
of the plot, plenty of humor, a gentle central character buffeted by
circumstances and other characters.
I liked this movie quite a lot despite Denby's review in the New
Yorker. Denby thinks Altman is condescending to women. In his review
of the movie, Ebert takes pains to explain that, more than most
directors, Altman works with women and has fine roles for women in his
movie-making. I see what he is doing as satire, not condescension. In
any case, it is fairly fun with lots of excellent roles for women.
(Laura Dern, e.g., costumed to match her three movie daughters cooking
in the kitchen, is great.)
Denby is correct that Altman doesn't make his point of view very clear.
However, I think that we, through extensive discussion here at
walden-family, have cracked the code. Altman is commenting on the
transition from women being put on a pedestal with the job of men being
to support them to a world where women are not dependent on men's
support to have fulfilling lives. Dr. T has been a truly good man in
the traditional world but is at a loss to understand his place as the
women closest to him no longer need him and the new woman in his life
doesn't need to depend on him either. The satire of the rich ladies of
Dallas has to do with their being so supported by men and so on a
pedestal that they have become a little nuts, i.e., taken to extremes,
being completely taken care of is not good for women. In the end, Dr. T
is deposited in a fanciful place where women still need a good man and
doctor like him.