Women (Elles)

Luis Galvao Teles's film about five middle-aged Lisbon friends is Portuguese-made with French dialogue, making it in theory the worst kind of Europudding. But in practice it's a stirring vehicle for five talented actresses—Carmen Maura, Miou-Miou, Paris opera star Guesch Patti, Marisa Berenson, and Marthe Keller. For my taste, this is juicier and more enjoyable as a movie about aging than All About My Mother, and the social milieu it encompasses is considerably wider: Maura plays a TV news journalist, Miou-Miou a literature professor, Patti an actress and singer, Keller a caterer, and Berenson the owner of a chic beauty salon where the others hang out. Collectively they conjure up a substantial world—and incidentally act up a storm.

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