Friends With Money

2007-02-09 18:10


Friends with Money is a drama about three women, their husbands and their umarried friend. The film does not tell a specific story, it merely observes the lives of four everyday people. You meet Jane (Frances McDormand ), a fashion designer, who is prone to public tantrums, and is married to a kind man, whom everyone thinks is gay. Then there is Franny (Joan Cusack) and her husband, the eponymous friends with money, who seemingly have no problems and are happy both in love and life. For Christine (Catherine Keener) life is falling apart. She and her husband are constantly quarrelling and their marriage is disintegrating in the process. Olivia (Jennifer Aniston), is their loner friend. She is a pothead and works as a maid. She also stalks her ex-boyfriend and has an issue with paying for expensive cosmetics. The movie follows the lives of these four women and we watch as they fail and succeed in handling everyday life.


Friends with Money is an ensemble comedy which explores the mind-set of white, middle-aged women living in Los Angeles. The four main characters deal with the typical issues faced by modern women today, mainly to try and achieve a balance between work, family life and love and to be good at all three.

The film has a strong female cast who deliver convincing performances. The film starts with the four main characters and they’re husbands meet for dinner. We learn that they are best friends, that they get together often, and they seem to have known each other for years. Unpredictably, on the way home they gossip and bad mouth each other. Throughout the film they continue to give running commentary on how they perceive each other. In this way the film thoroughly explores every relationship may it be with a friend or husband.

The film is essentially about money and accepting getting older. Money is an issue throughout the film, mostly because three of the friends have it and one doesn’t. Franny is exceptionally rich, while Olivia has to work as a maid to make ends meet.

The other main issue is something that Jane suffers from particularly - the idea that most of her great accomplishments are in the past and that there isn’t that much to look forward to.

“Do you like your life?”
“I’m not sure I like my life”
Jane tells her husband halfway through the movie. She seems bored with life and tells her husband that she always expected more. She is getting old and realises that she has nothing significant left to look forward to. The feeling that her life did not quite turn out the way she wanted is also a feeling her friends have to deal with in their lives.

Olivia’s (Jennifer Aniston) longest relationship ever was with a married guy. She smokes marijuana, probably because she is a little depressed, and throughout the movie she is often depicted alone in her apartment. She is also dating a guy who is completely wrong for her. Olivia has completely let go of the reigns of her life and just accepts what life puts in her path.

Christine (Catherine Keener) is shocked when her marriage starts falling apart. She and her husband are working on a script together and their disagreements and quarrels get worse as the film continues. She can’t even begin to imagine her life without the routine of having her husband there, and although she initially struggles, she finds herself feeling free and even a little relieved.

Franny (Joan Cusack) and her husband are the only ones without major problems. They are multimillionaires and rarely quarrel or experience personal crises. Although Joan Cusack is strong in her portrayal of Franny, she is definitely the least interesting character.

Another strong feature of the film is the insight it gives into the female psyche. You get to learn how these women think; why they act in a certain way and how easily their feelings get hurt.

In the beginning of the film the characters seem to live on the surface of life, they seem almost emotionless, weak, sad and bored with life. As the film progress, each personal crisis gets worst until a breaking point is reached. At the end of the film, although things are still very much the same there seems to have been growth for Jane, Olivia and Christine.

Essentially, the film is a study of human behaviour and relationships and if action or big laughs are what you are looking for, maybe you should give this one a skip.

- Annel Malan
Director Nicole Holofcener tells a simple story, a story about friendships, money, womanhood and growing old.

Rose 2006/11/20 4:47 PM
Friends with money This was one of those movies that just somehow never came together. It tendered to be tedious with few conclusions. Jennifer Aniston was poorly cast and amounted to nothing. Very disappointing.
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