As an avid reader (and writer), it’s rare that I like books that become movies. On one hand, I am happy for the writer because getting your books to the big screen is a huge accomplishment. While on the other hand, most times the movie doesn’t convey the book in the manner most readers would like. We’ve all been victims of the book turned movie letdown. You get riled up to see your favorite characters live and in action, only to leave feeling like you’re missing something because they left out all the good parts you loved, or cut the movie short.
Now, if you don’t read the book and see the movie first—then you may be a little better off, since you’re viewing from a different perspective. But for those who do read first, we have a certain level of expectation when we head to the theaters.
Which leads me to this best-selling book turned iconic movie. Okay, just to give you a little back history, Terry McMillan was the first “grown up” author I had ever read. I remember sneaking to read her novel, Mama when I was about 12. Even though I had yet to experience most of what was in the story—I fell in love with her raw depiction of Mildred Peacock and her five kids. From the moment I read the last page, I was hooked. Since my mother had purchased all her books, I ran through Disappearing Acts and Waiting to Exhale before the year was out. So the moment I heard Waiting to Exhale was hitting the big screen, I knew I had to see it.
However, since I was 12-years-old, there was no way in hell my mother was letting me see that movie. Unbeknownst to her, I had already read the book and knew more about what was going to happen than she knew. Still, sticking to her strict no R-rated movie policy that has sex in them (because cursing obviously didn’t matter), I was out of luck—or so I thought. Thanks to those “questionable babysitters” aka my older siblings, I saw the movie anyway.
Over the years, I’ve probably seen that movie more times than I can count. This movie has been a part of so many moments in my life. To be honest, this is the movie me and one of my best friends would always watch when we were in our man-hating moods (Love Jones, when we were happy) and didn’t want to be bothered. Our girl’s nights would be full of yelling at the tv, reciting the lines verbatim, and just having girl talks about which character our lives were a reflection of.
Like her, I love movies that empower women, embrace friendship, are relatable, and show the solidarity and strength of a strong sisterhood. Movies that depict the type of conversations and bonds that black women share and experience always rank high in my book. There may be people who disagree with this post, but here are 10 reasons why Waiting to Exhale is the Best Female Ever.
1. You are still getting your life to that Soundtrack
Any album you can listen to from beginning to end without skipping—always, always falls in the category of classics; therefore giving the album an extra two stars on my end. Like anything he touches, Babyface stacked the deck with this platinum-selling soundtrack that has all your female favs. Everyone from icons like Patti, Aretha, Chaka, Ce Ce Winans and Whitney to mega-stars like Toni Braxton, Brandy, Chante Moore, Mary J Blige and Faith Evans. To make sure the album fully represented girl power, Babyface threw in girl groups TLC, SWV and For Real. Though every song on the album can stand on it’s own, the album as a whole goes down itself as one of the best soundtracks ever produced and released.
2. It has more replay value and is watched more than any other black female movie.
First off, it’s a black movie. If the cast is 90% black, I don’t care who the hell directed it. Let’s just get that out the way. Second, to date it still is a good-ass movie and almost every woman can relate to its content. It may be dated, but the topics are still very prevalent today. I contend that in the Family Feud round of Black-Female-Movies Replayed-The Most, Waiting to Exhale will receive the highest points, hands down. Surprisingly, Set It Off will probably be it’s contender above anything else. This is not up for debate. You will deal, fight your mom.
3.It gave us ICONIC moments such as:
4. The Cast is Stacked.
Everybody and I mean everybody was in this movie! Normally I am not a fan of a lot of stars in movies (sometimes they’re horrible), however this cast pulled it off spectacularly. Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Divine, Lela Rochon, Starletta DuPois, Wendell Pierce, Leon, Gregory Hines, Donald Faison, Jeffrey Sams, Dennis Haybert, Mykelti Willamson, and Michael Beach.
5. Representations of sisterhood!
The women in Waiting to Exhale were strong, smart, blunt speaking, sometimes tough, and generally more insightful when it came to solving each other’s problems. They may not have always gotten along, but they were honest and there for each other. Whether it was relationship, work, or family issues they stood united. When Bernadine picked up that phone to call John and Robin took it from her to clown his mistress on that phone….that was me and my friends all day! Like most friendships, they butted heads and their interactions were sometimes complicated. But at the end of the day, they would slice your tires and yo momma tires for one another.
6. Black Women’s Stories Being Centered!!!!!
Friendship, love, and sisterhood were the pillars holding this movie together. How most black women face life struggles were portrayed in a realistic manner. Black women hold an enormous amount on their shoulders, and we’re still expected to be the backbone of our families. This movie showed the vulnerability black women battle with while trying to overcome broken marriages & divorce, being kicked to the curve for white women, loving the wrong man, self-esteem issues, sexism & discrimination at work, being the financial and emotional support system for our family, single motherhood, down-low partners, and a host of other topics we encounter daily.
7. It taught us about Misogynoir and how to spot someone playing for the other team.
Whether it’s being thrown away for Becky or Bruce, this movie put how black women are constantly casted to the side for either white women or our partners are secretly dipping into a man’s backyard for the world to see.
8. It also taught us that Black women’s anger is valid, and not to be ashamed of it. Bury it or pretend it doesn’t exist for the sake of others.
Love sometimes hurts and betrayal is a bitch. Every Angela Bassett scene gave us an opportunity to see that sometimes when we are hurt in the worst way—we do go to the extreme or we adopt bad habits to suppress that hurt, and it’s okay. We are human and although we’re strong 90 percent of the time—we hurt too. Plus, when she ripped those clothes out that closet, yelled and cussed (yes cussed not cursed), and set them on fire because she was hurt, angry, broken and pissed, black women felt that.
9. Settling won’t make you happy
We’ve all either been Savannah, Robin, or Gloria at some point, or we know someone who has. Being in love with the wrong kind of man, or consistently sleeping with someone because you’re struggling with your self-esteem is a common thing a lot of women battle with. This movie also showed how holding on to someone who ultimately will never love you the way you need to be love causes more self-harm than the moments of pleasure that come before it.
10. Also it was just a really, really great movie.
Tell me some of your favorite parts of the movie in the comments below!