Menopause: The Comedy
Independent filmmaker Henry Jaglom has done it again! With The M Word, he’s given us another amusing comedy about an important women’s issue. Jaglom’s latest movie takes its place among his other films dealing with topics of special concern to women – such as Eating, Shopping, and Irene in Time. Like Susan Seidelman’s The Hot Flashes, The M Word uses humor to bring menopause out in the open, which I think helps everyone -- of both sexes -- gain a better understanding about “the struggles, challenges and joys” of what some people still call “The Change of Life.”
However, co-starring the effervescent Tanna Frederick and Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos fame, this unusual film covers even more than menopause. Most of the action occurs inside a Los Angeles television station that’s facing changes relating to bad economic times and to the suspicion of in-house graft. Frederick portrays a children’s program actress named Moxie, and Imperioli is the outsider sent in to oversee cuts and reorganization. From the minute these two characters meet, sparks fly between them -- both positive and negative. Moxie wants the station to greenlight a documentary about menopause based on her mother and two aunts (Frances Fisher, Mary Crosby, Eliza Roberts) who are struggling with menopausal symptoms. She actually has tapes of their conversations about what’s happening with them as a result of going through this stage of life! Although Imperioli supports Moxie’s project, there are complications regarding employee firings, and Moxie finds herself leading a “lock-in” to fight for justice.
It’s always a treat to watch Tanna Frederick (Hollywood Dreams, Irene in Time, Queen of the Lot ) take over the screen. She really is a force of nature – and her work here is no exception. For example, while performing in the children’s TV program, Moxie has to play the part of a dog -- and Frederick meets the challenge with her usual flair. Plus, she’s completely commanding while leading the protest against the mass lay-offs of her colleagues, most of whom are women going through menopause. Frederick’s chemistry with Imperioli comes across as more humorous than romantic, but that works well in the context of this movie.
Corey Feldman and Gregory Harrison deserve recognition for their convincing portrayals of Moxie’s worried boyfriend and her stepfather (who also happens to be the station’s extreme sports commentator). Okay, I’ll admit it. To me, Harrison looks better and better as he ages.
I’m glad filmmakers Jaglom and Seidelman decided to take on the subject of menopause in The Hot Flashes and The M Word. These movies are not only funny, they fall under the category of “public service.”
(Scheduled for release by The Rainbow Film Company in April, 2014.)