Science fiction and fantasy
The Stepford Wives
directed by Frank Oz
The wives all dress in floral numbers which seem stuck in the fifties, so their dress as well as their behaviour harks back to that era. There are sinister moments, but overall the tone is lighter than you might expect. It's more of a comedy and it has some funny moments from actors such as Glenn Close, Bette Midler and Roger Bart. David Arnold's insistent and cheerful score is a pleasure to listen to.
This film doesn't give much attention to the technical details of how the Stepford wives have been transformed. In fact some of it makes little sense, and the robotics isn't explained well at the end. Technical realism isn't exactly the point of this film. It is also very light on effects, preferring to use the talents of actors over CGI. There are no chase scenes, no martial arts or dangling from heights that characterise so many modern blockbusters. None of that is needed.
Nicole Kidman is great as the neurotic Joanna who rejects Stepford at first and then trys to fit in. Matthew Broderick is likeable as her husband, although he is perhaps too steady as you always think you know what he will do next.
The Stepford Wives is a gentle, witty film with some quirky twists. It's not too saccharine and it doesn't overstay its welcome. In one of the more disturbing scenes the townsfolk surround Joanna, chanting "Stepford always wins". In the case of this film they are right.
If you like this, try:The Invasion by Oliver Hirschbiegel
The Invasion of the Body Snatchers is remade and updated for 2007.