Women, The

image for Women, The

Short takes

Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 due to sexual and drug references and coarse language.

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Women, The
  • a review of Women, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 October 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended. Lacks interest and contains sexual and drug references and coarse language.
Children under 13 Not recommended due to sexual and drug references and coarse language.
Children 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual and drug references and coarse language

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Women, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references, coarse language and drug references
Length: 114 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Mary (Meg Ryan), Sylvie (Annette Benning), Edie (Debra Messing) and Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith) are best friends living in New York. Mary has been happily married for 13 years to a Wall Street financier and has a daughter, Molly (India Ennega), verging on her teenage years. Mary is caught up in the socialite world of charity events, having given up her aspirations to design for the sake of her husband’s career. Her seemingly perfect world falls apart around her when she discovers her husband is having an affair with the much younger Crystal (Eva Mendes), who works behind the perfume counter at Saks. Mary’s friends, mother (Candice Bergen) and staff (Cloris Leachman and Tilly Scott Pedersen) try to offer their support, advice and love to Mary with mixed results.
In the meantime Mary’s friends have their own problems to deal with. Sylvie is struggling to keep her job at a high fashion magazine and is blackmailed by a gossip columnist (Carrie Fischer) to betray her friendship to Mary in one final sacrifice for her career. Complicating this relationship further is Sylvie’s discovery that all is not well for Molly who is struggling with her parent’s separation, her own body image issues and burgeoning choices of adolescence. Sylvie becomes Molly’s confidant unbeknownst to Mary.

Edie discovers she is pregnant for the fifth time and is hoping for a boy. She has her own relationship history and secrets that she hopes Mary won’t discover. Alex is struggling to write a follow up to her first successful novel and manage the moods of her new supermodel girlfriend.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Relationships; betrayal; adolescence; family breakdown

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Sylvie angrily throws a piece of fruit at Mary’s head. Mary says ‘Ow’ but is otherwise unharmed.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Edie gives birth late in the movie. During this scene she is shown to be in pain, screaming and crying. Her friends are also upset. The scene is depicted in a humorous light, but may be scary for some younger viewers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scene described above

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scene described above

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Cartier, Prada, Rodriguez, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Chanel, Dove, Saks.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Sylvie asks Mary if she “is having sex”.
  • Various references are made to the fact that Alex is a lesbian, and has a new girlfriend
  • Mary finds out that Crystal is having an affair with her husband. She gets angry that “that stupid woman’ is ‘screwing Steven’. She tells Sylvie that she is punishing Steven by not sleeping with him.
  • Sylvie refers to Crystal’s ‘slut factor in the bedroom’.
  • An upset Mary rants about her sex life in front her housekeeper maid, complaining about ’13 years of sex with the same man” and asking ‘did I bang the Federal Express man?!”. She states that nobody “could suck the nails out of a bed better than me”.
  • One of Sylvie’s editors proposes an article on “the 45 minute orgasm”.
  • A lesbian restaurant has some suggestive artwork on the walls.
  • Mary’s daughter Molly asks Sylvie when she first had sex. Sylvie answers ‘30’, then honestly talks about how her first time was awful.
  • At a retreat, Mary meets another woman who states that she always fakes her orgasms.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Mary and Crystal are seen trying on underwear in a shop. Crystal is shown to readjust her breast within a corset
  • Crystal is shown taking a bubble bath, but is completely covered by foam.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • During a women’s committee lunch, all the guests are seen drinking champagne. No one is intoxicated.
  • When asked how she manages to stay on top of all her roles, Mary replies “by using pharmaceuticals”
  • While at the lingerie shop, Crystal is seen in her underwear sipping champagne.
  • Sylvie finds Mary’s young daughter, Molly, with cigarettes.
  • At a retreat, Mary and another guest smoke marijuana.
  • At Mary’s fashion launch, the guests drink champagne.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Piss; oh my God, ‘Chanel number shit’; God damn/dammit; bitch, shit; skank; ass; screwing, Christ’s sake; bullshit; shittier; asshole, friggin, damn, shut up, schmuck.

In a nutshell

The Women is a light-hearted comedy about the friendship between four well-to-do New Yorkers, and the struggles and choices of the modern day woman. Younger children may find the content and dialogue of the movie uninteresting, but older girls may enjoy the fashion and settings of the movie and may relate to the plight of the ‘tweenie’ character.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • the value of trust, loyalty and love in friendships
  • accepting yourself for the way you are

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • divorce
  • body image issues and dieting
  • teenage sex and sexuality
  • smoking and alcohol use
  • gossiping; name-calling
  • being selfish and not considering others