The Other Woman (2009 film)

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The Other Woman
Other woman poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Don Roos
Produced by Carol Cuddy
Marc E. Platt
Screenplay by Don Roos
Based on Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
by Ayelet Waldman
Starring Natalie Portman
Lisa Kudrow
Lauren Ambrose
Scott Cohen
Music by John Swihart
Cinematography Steve Yedlin
Edited by David Codron
Distributed by Incentive Filmed Entertainment
Release date
  • September 16, 2009 (2009-09-16) (Toronto)
  • February 4, 2011 (2011-02-04) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $452,191[1]

The Other Woman (released in the United Kingdom as Love and Other Impossible Pursuits) is a 2009 American drama film written and directed by Don Roos. The film is based on the Ayelet Waldman novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, and distributed by Incentive Film Distribution in the US. The film stars Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow, Scott Cohen, and Charlie Tahan.


Emilia Greenleaf's life is turned upside down when she begins an affair with married high-powered attorney Jack Woolf and learns she is pregnant. After his quick divorce and their quick wedding, it is revealed through a series of flashbacks that her baby girl Isabel died three days after her birth from SIDS. Vilified as a homewrecker, she attracts the unyielding ire of his furious ex-wife, physician Carolyn, who is revealed to also be pregnant (after she heard about Emilia's pregnancy, she realized that she too wanted another child). Emilia thinks that this is purely out of spite. Now she must come to terms with her stepson, William (Tahan), who upsets her with constant references to her dead baby (including saying that under the terms of Jewish law, Isabel did not live long enough to be considered a full human being). Emilia's efforts to bond with William do not go well and succeed only in making both Carolyn and Jack think less of her.

After trying to carry the load on her own, her life finally collapses, and Jack tells her he cannot go on with the relationship. Emilia has a breakdown during a fight where she reveals to Jack that the baby did not die in her crib but in fact in her arms: she believes that she accidentally smothered her after she fell asleep while breastfeeding. She then tells him that she can also no longer do this, and leaves Jack alone, crying over their daughter. She moves out, tentatively mends fences with her father (who earlier had cheated on her mother), and joins her old friends at a Legal Aid office. She is surprised when Carolyn calls her and asks her to come by her office. After initially being upset about Emilia moving out, Carolyn admits to telling William there is a possibility Emilia did accidentally kill Isabel because of Emilia's thoughtless ways; Carolyn seems chastened when she adds that her son was angry at her attitude and told her she should be ashamed of herself. She then tells a stunned Emilia that she has personally looked into the autopsy report on Isabel, and she can confirm that Emilia did not kill her baby. Emilia starts crying in realization that she has been punishing herself for so long, and that it was not her fault. Emilia later goes to Jack and tells him the full story, and while he tells her at that point that he cannot reconcile with her, a crisis involving Carolyn's City Hall wedding and William leads to Emilia getting through to his son and Jack saying he wants to go on a date with her, leaving Emilia happy and strongly hinting the couple will get back together soon.

On the day that Carolyn's baby is born, Emilia takes William to the park and gives him a boat that was given to her when she was his age, she then says, "I love you William" and he replies "I know." He looks at her and away again and says, "Me too." The film ends with a montage of pictures and art, showing the various figures in the story.



Post-production wrapped in 2009, and the movie was released 2011.[2]


The film received mainly negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 39% of 44 of the critics it aggregated gave positive reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The website's consensus reads, "Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow deliver fine performances in The Other Woman, but they're muted by Don Roos' clumsy direction and cluttered, melodramatic script."[3] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 37 based on 16 reviews, which is interpreted as "Generally unfavorable" by Metacritic.[4]


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