The Movie Waffler First Look Review - ANOTHER WOMAN | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - ANOTHER WOMAN

another woman review
A stress-ridden doctor attempts to win back her husband after he leaves her for a young fitness instructor.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Anna Parmas

Starring: Olga Albanova, Anna Mikhalkova, Vitali Daushev, Anton Filipenko, Svetlana Kamynina

another woman poster

Funny thing, humour. Funny how it travels or, to be more accurate, how it doesn’t. Let’s be smugly honest and admit that what the rest of the world finds amusing is often bewildering. Like when you knock on twitter in the morning (I’m writing from the UK) and some almost inhumanly unfunny SNL skit is trending from across the Atlantic. Sitting in a hotel room in Berlin trying to make Kopf oder Schwanz of a random German sketch show’s ‘Antiwitz’. And one can only wonder at what our foreign brothers and sisters would make of Mrs Brown’s Boys… Like the exotic flavours of ethnic dishes, the mein of indigenous literature and the domestic differences of pop music, humour is an integral part of national identity, part and parcel of the little differences and quirks which make being alive in a globalised society so endlessly exciting.

another woman review

In Another Woman (or, to give it its secondary title, 'Let’s Get Divorced!', which I personally prefer for its cheerful expostulation), Anna Parmas’ (with co-writers Maria Shulgina and Elizaveta Tikhonova) Russian comedy, we centre on Alyona (Olga Albanova), a hard working gynaecologist who finds it hard trying to manage work and family life with her useless husband (Misha, Anton Filipenko - a Soviet John Holmes), and then finds it all a bit more difficult when her fella oтвяжисьs with another woman (fitness instructor Masha, Anna Mikhalkova - like a Siberian blend of Elizabeth Banks and Scarjo). Bare jokes?

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - Uncut Gems ]

The humour in Another Woman (which is as broad as the Circassian coast) is established early when Alyona is running late for a parents/kiddy swim at the school sports day. Tardy already, poor old Layona (a beautiful, intelligent woman of a certain age) has only gone and forgotten her costume too. There’s nothing for it, she’ll have to do it in her bra and pants (Olga Albanova is 45: go on love!). To the consternation of her family, she bellyflops into the pool and they lose the race. Things go from bad to worse later when -shock!- the yoghurt Alyona serves to her family is out of date. And then it’s all topped off when Alyona inadvertently answers her fella’s phone, and it turns out to be his mistress on the line who unknowingly details her intent to lick and kiss Misha’s ‘crevices’: awkward!

another woman review

The broadness of the opening scenes is continued as we meet Masha, whom Misha (typing the two names out I only just got the joke-neat!) must now go and live with. She is predictably a nutcase, a twenty-something womanchild who lives with her infirm grandmother and who has an unfortunate habit of slapping Misha across the face (when he refers to himself as an ‘old fart’, Masha biffs him but good, reasoning ‘don’t say such things about the man I love’). This when she isn’t down the gym attempting to recreate the video for Eric Prydz’s 'Call on Me' with a bunch of fit models and Misha miserably puffing away at the back. Maybe Misha has bitten off more than he can chew.

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - 1917 ]

This light-hearted look at heartbreak continues as Alyona reneges on her initial anger at Misha, and attempts, in a series of increasingly clumsy vignettes, to win him back. Another Woman begins to resemble a Mother Russian Motherland (you know, the sitcom with Philomena Cunk), with Alyona forgetting to pick up the kids from school, attempting to seduce Misha in a sauna, and, in a bit which did make me chuckle, having to take her kids to work, which means that midway through staring up some poor woman’s fanny Alyona’s kids burst in and run around the stirupped patient. Lol!

another woman review

But for all of this slapstickery, there is a surprising depth to Another Woman. Is it so easy to shed off a decade of married life? How do couples negotiate a seven year (ish) itch? Is there room for forgiveness? Anna Parmas’ film explores these universal questions of the heart, which are pertinent to any audience regardless of where our funny bones may be located. Fair play to Mint Films for distributing this one worldwide - it’s worth it.

A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

2020 movie reviews