Already binged Prime Video’s ‘Wilderness?’ We got you covered with other revenge-seeking tales.
That cheating bastard. Rotten scoundrel. Good for nothing, vow-neglecting dirtbag. So much for till death do us part; more like till you find another warm body to cozy up to in the storm. Prime Video’s Wilderness is the latest in female-led revenge stories following a woman out to punish the man who has betrayed her. In this six-part series based on the novel of the same name by B.E. Jones, Liv discovers that her husband, Will has cheated on her. At first, he claims it was a one-and-done — the classic lie to try and justify such deplorable behavior. A momentary lapse in judgment. An alcohol-induced escapade he barely remembers. Yet, this turns out to be another lie. Liv does some investigating and discovers he’s been having a full-blown affair — with promises to leave his wife and all.
The couple set out on a long-delayed honeymoon to repair their marriage. To Will’s knowledge, Liv is none the wiser regarding the extent of his infidelity. For, she decides that rather than confronting him — and listening to his poor excuses and subsequent waterworks apology — she will simply end his life on this trip. She refuses to become her mother: the first wife who spends her life thinking about her ex-husband, a man who had an affair and is now off indulging in a new splendid love story. She begins to envision all the ways she could get away with murder. Should she push him off the cliff at the Grand Canyon? Should she let him drown while white water rafting? You get the idea. Yet, when his mistress shows up with her oblivious boyfriend, Liv’s meticulous planning gives way to rage and messy mishaps.
If you already binged Wilderness, we’ve got some revenge tales across genres that are sure to scratch that retribution itch.
‘Gone Girl’ | 2014 | MAX
New York-based writer Nick Dunn (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) boast a picture-perfect marriage. They’ve got that rose-hued fantasy life that couples dream of…or so it seems. When Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick quickly becomes the primary suspect. The facade of their blissful marriage crumbles as secrets surface and buried lies are exposed.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s novel, the film is at once scary and silly — suspenseful and slick. A well-paced mystery with strong performances from Affleck and Pike that masterfully blends genres while maintaining a chilling undertone. And, as for Amy, well, she’s on a revenge mission that makes itself evident along the way.
‘John Tucker Must Die’ | 2006 | Prime Video
The teen-centric comedy, John Tucker Must Die, though boasting a bit more levity than Wilderness, also spotlights a cheater — and the just consequences he faces as a result of his infidelity. When three teenagers (all from vastly different cliques) realize they’re dating the same suave high school athlete, they band together to exact their revenge. They enlist the new girl in town to help break his heart and destroy his reputation in the process. Though critics panned this one for overt silliness and sentimentality, it’s a fun ride with enjoyable hijinks and snappy dialogue (that is, albeit, sometimes cringey).
‘The First Wives Club’ | 1996 | Paramount+
The movie begins with Stockard Channing’s Cynthia Swan Griffin — middle-aged and despondent over her ex-husband’s marriage to a younger woman — plunging to her death from her penthouse. Yet, in the hands of Channing, with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, it’s less of a pity-me moment and more of a screw-you splendor to the misogynistic society we live in. In high heels, a brown fur coat down to her ankles, and a satin white nightgown, she flicks that cigarette one last time before ending her life. This sets the foundation for The First Wives Club, as three of her former friends reunite at her funeral (Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton). Upon rekindling a friendship that hasn’t been lit in 30 years, they realize all of their husbands are taking them for granted, and they set out to seek revenge.
The film’s uproarious, witty, and empowering portrayal of friendship and revenge is timeless. The film boasts a sassy comedic tone and three deftly illustrated characters who couldn’t be more different, but all succumb to the same indignities inflicted upon middle-aged women. With a punchy and satirical script and glorious performances from our trio of stars, this one remains a memorable feminist romp.
‘She-Devil’ | 1989 | Prime Video
She-Devil stars Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr in a critical and box-office flop turned minor cult classic. Meryl Streep plays the glamorous author of 32 best-selling romance novels who steals Roseanne Barr’s accountant husband. The trailer calls Barr’s Ruth “a domestic demon” and the “queen of a suburban paradise.” Though turning the women against each other — and depicting Ruth as a frumpy, unworthy-of-love character — the movie does ensure that she’s the one you’re left rooting for, as she begins her red-eyed revenge journey. It’s a bit hokey and definitely aims for campiness. Though it never fully reaches peek absurdity, Streep proves her comedic chops, and Barr proves relatability through depth of emotions from jealousy and rage to pride and desire.
‘The Other Woman’ | 2014 | Prime Video
In a fashion similar to John Tucker Must Die, The Other Woman also follows three ladies who unite to exact revenge on the man who thought he could pull the wool over all their eyes. The film stars Cameron Diaz as the first “other woman,” Leslie Mann as the devoted wife, and Kate Upton as the second “other woman.”
While the film could’ve been a bit more empowering — often settling for cheap laughs where satirical commentary could flourish — it’s got a lot of heart and some laugh-out-loud moments thanks to Mann’s knack for portraying a humiliated housewife wallowing in self-pity. With women who bond instead of brawl, it rightfully makes the man the villain, and that’s a step above other films that pit women in such situations against one another.
‘Promising Young Woman’ | 2020 | Prime Video
Promising Young Woman stars a brilliant Casey Mulligan in a vigilante thriller about a woman out to right the wrongs of a traumatizing past. She’s a 30-year-old Med-school dropout who now lives with her parents. It’s believed that her former classmate raped her best friend Nina Fisher years prior. Now, she goes out at night, feigns intoxication, and goes home with men who expect to take her to bed, but instead receive much-needed lessons in consent.
The provocative and timely thriller is heavier than other installments on this list, but it’s an important, genre-spanning film that balances bleakness with wit, suspense, and dark comedy.
‘9 To 5’ | 1980 | Hulu
What kind of female-led revenge list would this be without 9 To 5? Though this one is less about a cheating scoundrel, it’s about a corporate one who is equally deserving of what’s coming to him. The office satire follows three female secretaries who fantasize about abducting their sexist and tyrannical boss and running the business themselves. After a night of drug-induced mayhem, one is convinced she actually poisoned the chauvinist. He takes credit for their work. He smacks his secretaries on the rear as he pleases and treats the women in the office with zero dignity. So, is ending his life all that bad?
Offering laugh-out-loud sequences while making pointed observations about gender roles in the workplace, the film is a classic. And, it’s also responsible for Dolly Parton’s iconic song that became an anthem for the tail-end of second-wave feminism.
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