Female Perversions (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Female Perversions (1997)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This fascinating, fragmented and complex drama eschews traditional narrative structure to present an intellectually challenging, feminist-oriented adaptation of Lousie J. Kaplan's book Female Perversions: The Tempations of Emma Bovary. Though the text, written from a Freudian perspective, is a series of case studies, the film centers on one character, Eve, an talented lawyer, who celebrates winning a case against a crooked business magnate. Eve dreams of becoming a judge, but when she gets a chance to meet the governor she finds herself filled with self-doubt and fear. She compensates for her lack of self-esteem by buying expensive clothing and make up. To make matters worse, Eve is an extremely sexual woman and with no regard to propriety hastily involves herself with Renee, a psychiatrist who has just moved into Eve's building. Meanwhile Eve's sister Madelyn has just been arrested for shoplifting. Madelyn is mentally unstable and when Eve learns of her trouble, she runs to the old boarding house where Madelyn stays. There in the ramshackle room Eve discovers that Madelyn has a few Super-8 films of her father's cruelty. Now both sisters must somehow come to grips with their own childhood pain and find some sense of control in their lives.

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Amy Madigan
as Madelyn
Frances Fisher
as Annunciata
John Diehl
as Jake Rock
Shawnee Smith
as Make-up Salesgirl
Nina Wise
as Lingerie Saleswoman
Judy Jean Berns
as Boutique Saleswoman
J. Patrick McCormack
as Wallace Leishman
Elizabeth Cava
as Female Jail Guard
Scotch Ellis Loring
as Joey/Cab Driver
John Cassini
as Gas Station Attendant
Rick Zieff
as Office Boy
Marcia Cross
as Eve's Mother
Don Gettinger
as Eve's Father
Marra Racz
as Earthwoman
Russ Gething
as Courthouse Guard
Bailee Bileschi
as Young Eve
Kim Blank
as Mother in Boutique
Robert Rider
as Old Man in Boutique
Bea Marcus
as Old Lady on Bus Bench
Jim James
as Detective
Evangelina Rodriguez
as Latina Corn Seller
Kirstie Tyrone
as Young Madelyn
Tere Wierson
as Caryatid in Fantasy
Rana Joy Glickman
as Caryatid in Fantasy
Viktor Manoel
as Caryatid in Fantasy
Torry Pendergrass
as Caryatid in Fantasy
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Critic Reviews for Female Perversions

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (11)

The women (played by Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan) are so intriguing and complex that they almost overcome the trappings of a non-linear narrative that's borderline academic.

June 27, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
Top Critic

The result is short on plot but long on observational detail and psychological resonance.

April 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Even if it works better as a provocative psychological treatise than as art, it does come alive and does provide major roles for Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan.

February 14, 2001 | Full Review…

Dreamy but seemingly endless, ambitious but affected, daring but banal film.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Often too pretentious to be profound.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

This is the kind of movie you can't stop thinking about.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Female Perversions

Aptly named, this film depicts several activities labeled perverse by society at large, yet through those revelations we come to understand the demons that Evelyn (Tilda Swinton) is facing down. Strong performances by Swinton and Amy Madigan, as her (younger? older?) sister, Madelyn propel the film. Both women are successful, Evelyn as an attorney being considered for a judgeship, and Madelyn as a doctoral candidate about to make her oral defense of her thesis, and both women get a less than enthusiastic response from their emotionally distant father when they try to share their news. Excellent use of dreams, fantasy, and flashback to help the viewer understand Evelyn's fragility and somewhat self-destructive behaviors. Good supporting cast, with only a couple of weak links, and an interesting side-story concerning a young girl struggling with identity issues helped to keep it from veering off into pure psycho-drama. Good to see Karen Sillas, a personal favorite in a small role here.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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