Waiting to Exhale (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Waiting to Exhale1995

Waiting to Exhale (1995)



Critic Consensus: Waiting to Exhale looks at life's ups and downs from an underseen perspective -- albeit one that's poorly served by uneven acting and a sporadically interesting story.

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Movie Info

A surprise Hollywood hit, this film is based on the novel of the same name by Terry McMillan and centers on four well-to-do African-American women and their relationships with men and one another. All of them are "holding their breath" until the day they can feel comfortable in a committed relationship with a man. Robin (Lela Rochon) is the long-time mistress of Russell (Leon), who keeps reneging on his promise to leave his wife for her. She dumps him to find a man she can have to herself, but her dates with a reliable but unattractive business partner (Wendell Pierce) and a drug addict (Mykelti Williamson) send her back to Russell. Savannah (Whitney Houston) is a successful television producer who also believes that her married lover Kenneth (Dennis Haysbert) will leave his wife. Bernadine (Angela Bassett) is a wealthy woman who abandoned her own career to raise a family. Her husband is now leaving her to marry a white woman. Gloria (Loretta Devine) is a beauty salon owner and single mother raising a teenage son. After years alone, she falls in love with a new neighbor, Marvin (Gregory Hines). The women share their stories over lunches and conversations at Gloria's salon.

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Angela Bassett
as Bernadine
Michael Beach
as John Harris Sr.
Wesley Snipes
as James Wheeler (uncredited)
as Russell
Brandon Hammond
as John Harris Jr.
Giancarlo Esposito
as Tarik's Father (uncredited)
Wren T. Brown
as Minister
as On Air D.J.
Ken Love
as D.J. at the Hermosa
Starletta DuPois
as Savannah's Mother
Shari L. Carpenter
as Savannah's Assistant
Thomas R. Leander
as Interviewer
Cordell Conway
as Person at Hermosa Table
Lee Wells Jr.
as Person at Hermosa Table
Hope Brown
as Person at Hermosa Table
Delaina Mitchell
as Tarik's Girl Friend
Luis Sharpe
as Herbert
Joseph S. Myers
as Security Guard at John's Office
Ezra Swerdlow
as Wild Bill
Ellin La Var
as Hairdresser
Patricia Anne Fox
as Customer at Hair Salon
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Critic Reviews for Waiting to Exhale

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (11)

It takes its old-fashioned soap-opera formula and refurbishes it for the age of Oprah. What that means is that while the script by McMillan and Ronald Bass serves up moonstruck romantic fantasies, it speaks in the language of self-empowerment .

March 31, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Never escapes the queasy aura of Melrose Place: just another story about beautiful people with small problems.

April 12, 2002

A pleasant if undemanding piece of work that is diverting to sit through though it won't stand up to any kind of rigorous examination.

February 13, 2001 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

You want the movie to stomp and rejoice and cry like a fool; instead it meanders and lollygags, occasionally flaring up, then sputtering again.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

For all the pleasure there is in seeing effective, great-looking black women grappling with major life issues on screen, Waiting to Exhale is an uneven piece.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4

The male-bashing taken to an extreme in Waiting to Exhale is starting to seem a little like crack for the female psyche, exhilarating in the short term but ultimately crippling and dangerous.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Waiting to Exhale



Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer


It gets a little slow towards the end...but, it's okay.

Nani Vang
Nani Vang

Super Reviewer


Movie about friendship and how very different women deal with their partners.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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