TL;DR – A whimsical romp of a film that I wish just had a touch more substance.
Post-Credit Scene – There are some mid-credit scenes
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.
7 Women and a Murder Review –
The stampede of new murder mysteries comes onto the scene. I have gotten a chance to see a lot of English-language films dancing in this space. But it is time to branch away from that and explore how the rest of the world is dabbling in this space. Our first stop is Italy, where the bigger scandal is not that someone is having an affair but that someone has an unrequited love.
So to set the scene, it is a cold and wintery Christmas Eve as several women make their way to an estate in the Italian countryside. There are seven different women in that house that day. The Daughter Susanna (Diana Del Bufalo), The Maid Maria (Luisa Ranieri), The Mother-In-Law Rachele (Ornella Vanoni), The Wife Margherita (Margherita Buy), The Aunt Agostina (Sabrina Impacciatore), The Little Sister Caterina (Benedetta Porcaroli), and The Lover Veronica (Micaela Ramazzotti). But when they wake up the patriarch of the house, Marcello (Luca Pastorelli), The Maid finds him dead with a knife in his back. A murder most foul. But who is the killer? Is one of them? Or is someone else prowling the house, waiting to strike? Which is right when the electricity starts to flutter.
The first strength of this film is its setting. Our story is set during some undetermined time. I would say the 1950s? For the narrative to work, people need to be out of contact with the world and the police, and while a blizzard helps, no phone connection is essential. It also allows you to decorate the house and the costumes with all the glitz and glamour of the era. The film’s clear identity is essential because we spend 75% of our runtime in the same downstairs space. We see that same detail in every part of the film. For example, every costume is tailored to speak volumes about each character. It is these small touches that bring the story to life.
The next strength is the tone. While this may be a murder mystery, there is a light tone to it all that makes it generally a touch more comedic than you would usually see. The music has a fun lilt to it, a ¾ time, if I am not mistaken. Much like a Waltz, you feel like you are dancing through the scene as the burden of who the room thinks is the murder shifts and changes. It is full of plucked strings and bassoons, which the subtitles call whimsical, perfectly fitting the mood. I also like how the camera and setting shift and move with the discussions in the room, as different people get called out for being the potential murderer.
While it was all a bit of fun, unfortunately, that is where it stays, I kept hoping for something a little bit more, a touch more depth, but it never came. Because of this, the film’s tone never changes. It just shifts from one woman to the next as small nuggets of information are revealed. There are one or two moments where it looks like the film will go somewhere more, but it always pulls back before committing. Also, the big reveal was more than a little underwhelming.
In the end, do we recommend 7 Women and a Murder? I had some fun here as every actor swung to the fences every moment. However, it felt like it was held back from reaching its potential. If you liked 7 Women and a Murder, I would recommend to you See How They Run.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of 7 Women and a Murder
Directed by – Alessandro Genoese
Screenplay by – Alessandro Genovesi & Lisa Nur Sultan
Based on – 8 Women and a Mystery by François Ozon & Marina de Van and Huit Femmes by Robert Thomas
Music by – Andrea Farri
Cinematography by – Federico Masiero
Edited by – Claudio DiMauro
Production/Distribution Companies – Wildside, Warner Bros. Entertainment Italy & Netflix
Starring – Margherita Buy, Diana Del Bufalo, Sabrina Impacciatore, Benedetta Porcaroli, Micaela Ramazzotti, Luisa Ranieri & Ornella Vanoni with Luca Pastorelli, Alessandro Genovesi & Marco Rossetti
Rating – Australia: M;