She-Devil (film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

She-Devil is a 1989 film starring Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr. It was directed by Susan Seidelman. It is the second adaptation of the novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by British writer Fay Weldon, a BBC TV version was first broadcast in 1986.


Ruth (Barr) is an overweight wife and mother who tries to please her husband. Her husband Bob (Ed Begley, Jr.) is an accountant who meets Mary Fisher, a romance novelist, at a dinner party and begins having an affair with her. When Ruth accidentally cooks one of the children's pets into a casserole while Bob's parents are visiting, Bob leaves her. As he is packing his bags, he explains to Ruth that his assets are his home, his family, his career, and his freedom, but Ruth is a liability. Ruth vows to get revenge on him, as well as Mary when she says to herself "I hope Mary Fisher's pink palace crumbles and falls right into the sea". Ruth writes a list to herself titled "Bob's Assets" and lists the four assets that Bob has stated, and will cross off each one from the list when it is destroyed. While he is at work and the children are at school, she sets the house on fire (by overloading the house's electricity) and it is ruined in a gigantic explosion. She considers that the easiest asset she took away from Bob, and is not suspected of arson (as she lives in a neighborhood where people long suspected one of the foundation homes there would blow up). She drops the children off with Bob (now living with Mary) and does not see him again until much later. However, she is still working behind the scenes to destroy Bob's remaining assets. It is seen now that the second of Bob's assets, his family, is being destroyed as well, as Mary is inexperienced in raising children and seems unwilling to learn how to be a mother, which causes tension in her relationship with Bob.

Ruth takes a job at a nursing home under the pseudonym Vesta Rose. There she befriends Mary's estranged mother and arranges for the mother to return to Mary's life at a very inopportune moment. She also meets Nurse Hopper (Linda Hunt), a woman who has worked for the nursing home for a number of years. With Nurse Hopper's savings, Ruth partners with her and both decide to start an employment agency for women who need a second chance. The employment agency is a success, and women who Ruth has helped assist her in getting revenge on Bob. Mary has written a new novel on her romance with Bob titled "Life in the Rinse Cycle", which publishers consider strange as there is a chapter about doing laundry and the protagonist's name is Bob; which is an odd name for romantic heroes. An attractive young woman applies to Ruth's agency, who gets her a job as a secretary for Bob (and he soon starts cheating on Mary with her, giving Mary a taste of her own medicine). The secretary reveals to Ruth that Bob has been embezzling from his client's accounts and transferring funds to his private overseas account, and Ruth works to expose this to his superiors (as well as to the police); getting him terminated; thus destroying his third asset of career. Mary's career is going downhill as well, as her mother reveals embarrassing secrets about Mary to a reporter at People Magazine, which is then put in a future issue of People as "Dethroning the Queen of Romance". Bob throws a party for Mary to cheer her up, which is going well until the atmosphere is shattered when state troopers appear with a warrant for Bob's arrest. Mary later tells Bob that she is leaving him, in which Bob now has realized what he did to Ruth has happened to him and that he has ended up with nothing because of his sinfulness. Bob is then convicted of a white-collar crime and sent to prison, thus destroying his fourth and final asset, his freedom. Meanwhile, Mary's novel fails but Ruth's business thrives. The story ends with the reunited family visiting Bob in prison, who has been greatly reformed and says he stands a good chance of being awarded parole and is looking forward to spending more time with the children. Ruth ends by saying she does believe a person can repent as has Bob, but not everyone, as the final scene shows Ruth at a book signing for Mary's new novel(in which she tells all about her affair). Ruth asks Mary to make her autograph out to Ruth but Mary fails to notice it is the Ruth that she stole "Bob" from. Next in line behind Ruth is a man whom Mary clearly tries to become more personal with, indicating she has not changed her ways.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "She-Devil (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools