This movie is based on Terry McMillan’s book of the same title. She also gets credit for writing the screenplay.
Before diving into this movie, I have to talk about this amazing soundtrack. It is phenomenal. While researching, I found out that Kenneth Edmonds (better known as Babyface) was the producer of the music. Babyface wrote or cowrote all songs except MY FUNNY VALENTINE. (This fact came from my research on Wikipedia).
This movie was released December 22, 1995. I was 19 years old. Not much life experience under my belt. Watching this movie, now in my 40s and I see it in a whole new light. I am divorced. I have a 13- year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. I have an appreciation for this film that I couldn’t possibly have had all those years ago.
The opening scene is Savannah (Whitney Houston) driving down a highway in a convertible with a beautiful Arizona backdrop.
Whitney has top billing for being America’s sweetheart (for a short while longer), top female vocalist and her coming off THE BODYGUARD movie success. Singing the title track of this movie helps too, I am sure.
Whitney looks beautiful. Her body guard claimed she had a cocaine overdose during filming. Whitney will be dead for 10 years on February 12, 2022.
I have to admit I have not seen many Angela Bassett films. She was nominated for her portrayal of Tina Turner in 1993’s WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT. She lost to Holly Hunter for THE PIANO. I cannot wait to watch WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT! Angela Bassett owns this movie…not Whitney.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
This movie begins on New Year’s Eve and shows an entire year with the movie ending at New Year’s Eve of the following year.
Bernadine (Angela Bassett) is getting made up for a New Year’s Party when her husband (John) tells her he is taking his mistress. He will be divorcing her. She can have the house and their two kids.
Savannah is dressed up and shows up for a blind date. She is into the guy and they dance for a long time, until his “date” finds him. Savannah leaves and goes home.
Robin (Lela Rochon) is staying home alone for the first time on New Year’s Eve.
We are introduced to Gloria (Loretta Devine) who is trying to revive an obviously dead flower/plant. This is a great assessment of the character. We see her son who is played by TURK from Scrubs!!! I loved the show Scrubs. He is going out for New Year’s and feels bad his mom is home alone. She tells him to be home at a decent hour and that his father will be coming to town. Turk says he is my daddy not my father. There is a big difference. Turk says he isn’t happy that she lets his daddy stay with her on his visits. She tells him to mind his own business. He realizes he crossed the line and apologizes. They have a great bond.
We get some gossip at the hair salon that Gloria works at or owns…I believe she owns it. Robin is there and Gloria tells her lunch hour is over and get out of the shop and back to her fancy insurance job. Then a hairstylist asks if they have heard about John leaving Bernadine. Gloria immediately calls and the answering machine picks up. She is calm and collected with her message while Robin grabs the phone and yells how dare John leave her and their kids.
Bernadine wakes up looking like, well a woman that has been left by her husband. She plays the Gloria and Robin message and then Savannah has also left a message saying she heard what happened and for Bernadine to call her.
A WOMAN SCORNED
Bernadine puts her kids on the school bus. We then see her storm through the house to her husband’s closet tearing his clothing off the rods and taking them to the garage. She stuffs everything she can into his white BMW and backs that bitch out of the garage. During her rampage, she is talking out loud about having a Master’s in Business and that she wanted to open a catering business, but John said wait just a couple more years. She helped build his successful business from the ground up while letting her dreams wait. Bernadine sets that car on FIRE!!! I would not want to meet this chick in a dark alley. She walks away while her life goes up in flames. One of the best movie scenes ever!!!
BEST ABS AWARD GOES TO LELA ROCHON
Robin is getting ready to give herself to Michael a gentleman that she works with. It isn’t all that and she is quite disappointed. However, she and Michael talk. She opens up to Michael and he tells her he can give her all that she wants. They embrace and she feels happy and secure in a future with Michael.
DRINKS AT SUNSET
Savannah shows up at Bernadine’s door. She has presents for the kids. Bernadine is cleaned up and looks great! We see that Bernadine is still not doing well as a home movie with her and John in happier times is playing on the tv. Savannah and Bernadine move outside for a drink. A breathtaking sunset is the background.
I lived in Tucson for a couple of years in my 20s. The sunsets in Arizona are indeed the most beautiful I have ever experienced.
Baby daddy (David) shows up to see Turk. Gloria says in the voiceover that David did her a favor the last time he was there by spending the night. Then says Lord let him be merciful tonight! I love Loretta DeVine!!!
David says no to the food Gloria has prepared. Gloria tells him Turk won’t be back until the following day. He goes to leave and Gloria offers for him to stay the night. He comes clean he is a homosexual to Gloria. He says he is staying at a hotel and that Turk has to get a hold of him before noon or he is checking out.
TAKE IT ALL
Bernadine is having a yard sale and selling off all her husband’s things for only a dollar apiece.
A GIRL HAS TO DO WHAT A GIRL HAS TO DO
What do we have here? Savannah is with the hot guy from New Year’s Eve. She is watching him primp in the bathroom from her bed. In the voiceover she is saying he called to apologize. He has no real income, chains smokes reefer, brags about being vegetarian, but inhaled 3 hotdogs like he didn’t know where his next meal would come from. LOL She gave him $20 for gas which only came to a little over $7. He didn’t give her any money back. She says it has been 5 months and she doesn’t need to be in love to give her body what it needs. Haha
Damn! Bernadine storms into her husband’s conference room meeting. She slaps the white chick he is sleeping with. Everyone scatters out. Bernadine has just come from the bank. He has wiped them out. She asks what she is supposed to do for money for her and HIS children?!? He replies he gave her the house. Sell it. He says he is coming for his kids on Saturday. She says he better keep them away from the tramp or he will regret it for the rest of his life. A man comes in to check on things. This scene really gets to me. It is more than apparent that the three have history and Bernadine asks the man if he is really going to get security and throw her out? Angela Bassett makes you feel Bernadine’s anger and humiliation to the core.
MOM, WHAT DID YOU SAY?
Gloria walks in on Turk getting serviced by gal. She slips and says if your daddy wasn’t gay I swear I would send you straight to him. Then Turk uses a term we no longer use in this day in age. Gloria isn’t pleased and they have words. I love these two!
Robin is giving a presentation and Michael questions her reporting saying he found a mistake in the engineering report. In a voiceover we hear her say he will never get with her again. LOL
I DESERVE SOMETHING
Bernadine is meeting with a lawyer. She wants to be able to pay her mortgage, take care of her kids and their education. The lawyer says this won’t be easy as everything has been put into John’s name only including the business.
CUTTING THIS MAN OUT
Gloria says no way to Bernadine asking for her hair to be cut off. Gloria says she won’t do it. Bernadine chops a large piece off. Gloria says give me the scissors. I can’t believe you are going to have me do this!
I WANT TO DANCE WITH SOMEBODY
The ladies hit the club. Bernadette looks fantastic with her hair chopped off. She leaves the table to dance. The ladies discuss her haircut as soon as she leaves the table like ladies do. Gloria and Robin don’t like it. Savannah says she does. They all exchange looks and it is so real and a great scene.
JUST SAY NO
Robin is with a new guy Troy. Oh Lord he is into drug dealing. Robin isn’t into this scene.
Savannah is at work. We hear the voice of Dennis Haysbert from many great films, but I think of him from the All State insurance commercials. He is coming to town and wants to see Savannah. Savannah calls her mother knowing she gave him her work number. Savannah says he is married and her mother says he must not be happy. Her mom tells Savannah she needs a man and to see him.
Robin is still hanging with Troy. I just realized he is the guy who played Bubba in Forrest Gump. Dang! Two completely different characters.
IT’S OK IF I SLEEP WITH A MARRIED MAN
Bernadine and Gloria are hanging out together. Bernadine slept with a married man from the club. She tells Gloria she isn’t like her and needs a man to hold her even if it is a lie. Bernadine says she kept it a secret because she knew Gloria would judge her. Gloria does.
Savannah and Robin are on the phone. Savannah tells Robin she knows what Troy is. Robin says he only does it once in a while. Savannah says what do you expect him to say, “I am a crack head?” My mood plummets as I see the awful Diane Sawyer and Whitney Houston interview from the future play in head. Whitney why?!?!?
We are about at the ½ way mark. Angela Bassett’s portrayal of Bernadine is far and away the best character in this film. Loretta Devine playing Gloria is my close second! Whitney Houston is a distant third as Savannah and the gorgeous Lela Rochan playing Robin comes in last for me.
I hope you give this movie a shot. There are some great scenes coming up with Gloria and a new neighbor played by the late Gregory Hines.
Wesley Snipes is in this movie too. Forest Whitaker directed this film.
I give this movie 3 stars. This has a running time of 2 hours and 3 minutes. I do think it could have been 15 minutes shorter.
Let me know in the comments what you thought of Waiting to Exhale. What was your favorite scene?
- @ December 30, 2021 1:34 pm