DirectorPeter Greenaway Initial DVD releaseOctober 10, 2000 WriterPeter Greenaway
Latin Release date22 May 1999 (1999-05-22) (Cannes)
10 December 1999 (1999-12-10) (United Kingdom)
6 January 2000 (2000-01-06) (Netherlands)
26 May 2000 (2000-05-26) (United States) Music directorGiuseppe Verdi, Frank Loesser CastJohn Standing (Philip Emmenthal), Matthew Delamere (Storey Emmenthal), Vivian Wu (Kito), Annie Yi (Simato), Toni Collette (Griselda) Similar moviesInterstellar, Batman Begins, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Discovery of Heaven, Rocky V, The Godfather
TaglineWhen sexual desire becomes an obsession, it's every man for himself.
8½ Women is a 1999 comedy-drama film written and directed by Peter Greenaway, and starring John Standing, Matthew Delamere, and Vivian Wu. The international co-production (the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany) was entered into the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.
After the death of his wife Amelia, wealthy businessman Philip Emmenthal (John Standing) and his son Storey (Matthew Delamere) open their own private harem in their family residence in Geneva. They get the idea while watching Federico Fellini's 8½ and after Storey is "given" a woman, Simato (Shizuka Inoh), to waive her pachinko debts. They sign one-year contracts with eight (and a half) women to this effect.
The women each have a gimmick (one is a nun, another a kabuki performer, etc.). Philip soon becomes dominated by his favorite of the concubines, Palmira (Polly Walker), who has no interest in Storey as a lover, despite what their contract might stipulate. Philip dies, the concubines' contracts expire, and Storey is left alone with Giulietta (the titular "½") and of course the money and the houses.
While the film deals with and graphically describes diverse sexual acts in conversation, the film does not feature any sex scenes as such.
John Standing as Philip Emmenthal
Matthew Delamere as Storey Emmenthal
Vivian Wu as Kita
Shizuka Inoh as Simato
Toni Collette as Griselda/Sister Concordia
Amanda Plummer as Beryl
Natacha Amal as Giaconda
Barbara Sarafian as Clothilde
Kirina Mano as Mio
Manna Fujiwara as Giulietta/Half Woman
Polly Walker as Palmira
Elizabeth Berrington as Celeste
Myriam Muller as Marianne
Don Warrington as Simon
Claire Johnston as Amelia
8½ Women received mixed to negative reviews; it holds a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is currently Greenaway's lowest-rated film on the site. On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has 36/100, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
The film opened at the box office at #50 with $92,000 and grossed $424,123 domestically.