Waiting to Exhale

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Waiting to Exhale
WaitingExhale.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Forest Whitaker
Produced by Terry McMillan
Ronald Bass
Deborah Schindler
Ezra Swerdlow
Screenplay by Terry McMillan
Ronald Bass
Based on Waiting for Exhale 
by Terry McMillan
Starring Whitney Houston
Angela Bassett
Loretta Devine
Lela Rochon
Music by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds
Cinematography Toyomitcha Kurita
Editing by Richard Chew
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 22, 1995 (1995-12-22)
Running time 124 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $16 million
Box office $81,452,156

Waiting to Exhale is a 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Forest Whitaker (in his feature film directorial debut) and starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett. The film was adapted from the 1992 novel of the same name by Terry McMillan. Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, Dennis Haysbert, Michael Beach, Gregory Hines, Donald Faison, and Mykelti Williamson rounded out the rest of the cast. The original music score was composed by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The story centers on four female friends living in the Phoenix, Arizona area 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.

The film is notable for having an all-African American cast. The Los Angeles Times called it a "social phenomenon".[1]

Plot[edit]

"Friends are the People who let you be yourself - and Never let you forget it"

Waiting to Exhale is a story about four African-American women — Savannah, Robin, Bernadine, and Gloria—who go through different stages of love and life. Savannah "’Vannah" Jackson is a successful television producer who holds on to the belief that one day her married lover will leave his wife for her. Bernadine "Bernie" Harris, abandons her own career dreams and desire of having a catering business to raise a family, and support her husband, who leaves her for a white woman. Robin Stokes is a high-powered executive and the long-time mistress of married Russell, who has problems finding a decent man of her own after dumping him. Gloria "Glo" Matthews is a beauty salon owner and single mother. After years alone, and finding out that her ex-husband who is also the father of her son, has come out of the closet as gay, she falls in love with a new neighbor, Marvin King. The four friends get together to provide support, listen to each other vent about life and love, and have fun, as they go through life's trials and tribulations. Savannah ends up dumping her married lover for good. Bernadine gets a big divorce settlement from her ex-husband. Robin ends up pregnant by her married lover, but dumps him and decides to raise the baby on her own. Gloria lets her son go on the "Up With People" trip to Spain and apologizes to her neighbor for snapping at him when he suggested that she should let her son grow up and experience the world.

Cast[edit]

Reception and box office[edit]

Waiting to Exhale was a financial success, opening at number-one at the North American box office, grossing $14.1 million in its first weekend of release.[4] In total, the film grossed $67.05 million in North America, and $14.4 internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $81.45 million.[5] Its widest release was in just over 1,400 theatres and was the 26th highest-grossing film of 1995.[5]

Upon release, the film received mixed reviews from critics. Film critic Susan Stark from The Detroit News stated, "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."[6] Reviewer Liam Lacey from The Daily Globe and Mail said of the film, "[It] never escapes the queasy aura of Melrose Place: just another story about naive people with small problems."[7] However, film critic Roger Ebert positively reviewed the film, stating that it is "an escapist fantasy that women in the audience can enjoy by musing, 'I wish I had her problems'—and her car, house, wardrobe, figure and men, even wrong men."[8] Nevertheless, the film received a "Rotten" rating from the film aggregator Web site Rotten Tomatoes with a rating of 52% based on 25 reviews.[7]

In the book Is Marriage for White People? Ralph Richard Banks, a writer and Stanford Law School professor, states that the film is a perfect example of the problems African-American women have in finding serious relationships.[9]

Soundtrack[edit]

Full article: Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album

The soundtrack to the film featured exclusively female African American artists. The soundtrack included the number-one hit song "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)", sung by Whitney Houston,[10] as well as "Not Gon' Cry" by Mary J. Blige, "Sittin' Up in My Room" by Brandy, and "Count on Me" by Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans, all of which reached the top ten of Billboard's Hot 100 chart.[11]

Sequel[edit]

Interviewed in the spring of 2011 on an episode of The Talk, Angela Bassett confirmed that a sequel was in the planning stages, with all the female principals signed on to star, and Whitaker returning to direct. The film would be based on McMillan's 2010 follow-up novel, Getting to Happy; McMillan was adapting the book to screenplay as well.[12] As of July 2012, no news has come of the sequel, and after Houston's death in February 2012, it is unknown whether the role of Savannah Jackson will be recast.

Accolades[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dutka, Elaine. "The Money's Where the Action Is; Movies: Big budgets and special effects push the film industry to yet another record performance". Los Angeles Times. May 22, 2006. December 31, 1996.
  2. ^ Seymour, Gene (1995-12-18). "Breathing Easier : 'Waiting to Exhale' Role Has Given Lela Rochon's Career a Dose of Fresh Air". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  3. ^ Braxton, Greg (1996-03-30). "Angela Bassett Reaches a Stellar Groove at Last". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  4. ^ Dutka, Elaine (1995-12-25). "It's a Big Sigh of Relief for Exhale: Box office: Whitney Houston film opens strongly and could take in $11 million or more for the four-day weekend. 'Nixon' and 'Cutthroat Island' perform poorly.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  5. ^ a b WAITING TO EXHALE Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2010-2-21
  6. ^ Waiting to Exhale (1995) Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved 2010-2-21
  7. ^ a b Waiting to Exhale (1995) Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved 2010-2-21
  8. ^ Waiting to Exhale (1995) Chicago Sun Times Retrieved 2010-2-21
  9. ^ John H. McWhorter. "Marrying Out". City Journal. 
  10. ^ Whitney Houston Billboard.com Retrieved 2010-2-21
  11. ^ Waiting to Exhale - Original...(1995) Billboard.com Retrieved 2010-2-21
  12. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (9 May 2011). "'Waiting To Exhale' Sequel: Whitney Houston Returns With Forest Whitaker". HuffPost Entertainment (HuffingtonPost.com). Retrieved 5 September 2011. 

External links[edit]