Dr. T & the Women (2000) Poster

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If you dig Robert Altman's style, it's worth it
Lumpenprole20 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers

I'm definitely fond of this movie. Richard Gere comes off a serious person and his acting is perfect, which I wasn't expecting at all. The film was very well made and ended on a note I thought was much more sincere than anything I've seen in movies recently. The dialogue and plot took me two sittings to absorb.

Having said that, I gotta admit, people will hate this film. Like most Altman pieces, the plot is not driven by outside events so much as it's driven by how characters feel and act towards each other. Dr. T is a rather extreme example of this, where almost nothing happens but the spectacular collapse of a wedding, a failed relationship, and a short-story magic ending. The arc of the plot is the growth of the Richard Gere character from a needy person who has been unconsciously trying to make himself the center of a kingdom of dependent women into a person who finds new meaning in his work with people. Dr. T begins the movie as a man who is perfectly happy. He's an overwhelming professional success with an attractive family and nothing but more of expensive happiness to look forward to. But he's immersed in demanding women. He has spent his whole life trying to put women on pedestals so that he can bask in their praise and affection. This isn't exactly evil, but the movie shows how his life begins to unravel as a result of this basically sexist outlook he has devoted his life to. After what must have been decades of relentless smothering, his wife reverts to a childlike state. (An expensive psychiatrist assures him that it's from having a life that's `too perfect,' which is probably a way of telling him what's wrong without saying exactly why.) His heroic efforts as an OB/GYN have led his patients to make unreasonable demands on him that make his job a hell. He appears to have gotten the needs of his daughters backwards as far as which one requires more attention. His time-bomb sister-in-law has moved into his home with her gaggle of little girls. Just as all of this comes apart, he runs into a woman from outside Dr. T's kingdom. Helen Hunt plays a woman who doesn't need him and won't let herself rely on his courtesies and affections. He tells her frankly that he's never met any woman like her, which is a sad thing really. Then it all falls apart and in his lowest moment he's wrenched away from the mess he's made of his life by a tornado out of The Wizard of Oz (people can believe in Yoda, clips of ammo that never empty, accept a deluge of frogs from the sky, and that a man can be just a little jarred after shooting himself in the head to kill Tyler Durden, but a magic tornado is too much…) Dr. T finds himself without his expensive status symbols or his dependent entourage of hypochondriacs, in a place without even a phone. He does his job and he doesn't even get a girl. It's a boy and it's all new to him and that fills him with joy.

There are other Altman traits will drive people up the wall - the plot that feels like sprawl the first time through, the lack of signposts to obviously sympathetic characters, insistence on sorting moral ambiguities, doing satire in a PC world where even the shopping classes can't be made fun of, the layers of dialogue and so on. What I try to tell people that are new to Altman is that he pretty much invented the TV drama forms we respect. E.R. and Hill Street Blues and any number of TV dramas thrive off Altman's formula - which is to pick an interesting locale, drop a ton of characters in, and set them in motion. Events happen, but the real drama is watching the characters interact every week. The Hollywood film industry has moved in the opposite direction, which is soap opera. There you take a big cast of canned personalities, drop them in an upper income setting and write some love story or coming-of-age bit around the quest/monsters/gun fights that actually make them move from scene to scene. Neither is inherently better, but the multiplex has gravitated towards the second so completely that most people are utterly confused when seeing the first.

Unless you're interested in seeing a movie about a man who is forced to change the values he built his life on with the best intentions, you'll hate it. If you dig seeing that dramatized, Dr. T is fairly unique.

Also, I wish Altman had some pull with whoever is doing the advertising for his films. Marketing Dr. T as a screwball comedy and Gosford Park as a whodunit has probably done more damage to his reputation than anything else. Illiterate marketing is almost as big a problem as trailers that give the best parts of movies away - I wish the studios would be a little more thoughtful about it.
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No really, I like this movie
shanepang24 September 2005
I'm sorry, but I like this movie. It might just be my defense of Robert Altman, but I think that this is a good comedy. Dr. T who devotes his life to taking care of women, but never considers how they could take care of themselves. He loves everything about women, and women love him. However, nothing he can do can protect them in the end.

The problem is that this film was presented as a movie for women: a date movie that you can drag a boyfriend or husband to in order to prove love and devotion. The film is actually examining women, their needs and relationships with or without a strong male figure. This isn't a chick flick; it's an analytic comedy. So, the intended movie date turns out to be a disappointment for both parties who have no idea what to expect.

The only positive aspect of this whole misunderstanding is that now, years later, Dr. T ends up on the cheap rack at any DVD store. So don't rent it, buy it, give it another look and even if you don't like it, sell it for even cheaper. When this movie is available for less than a dollar, no one will have any excuse not to watch it. Several of the people will end up actually liking it.
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Inexplicably and Incoherently Awful
mzee7526 June 2001
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** My wife and I picked this movie off the rental store shelf purely off it's star-power. We figured, "How can eight marquee-level stars all be wrong?" After watching the film, we had to ask, "How did eight marquee-level stars get duped into appearing in this dreck?"

First of all, I'm absolutely shocked to find it was penned by a woman. Why? Think of a negative female stereotype, and this film screams it into an amplified bullhorn. Without exception, ALL the female characters are completely neurotic, ludicrously overdressed, blindly self-absorbed, and chatter incessantly about nothing of substance whatsoever, often several characters at a time crescendoing into a mind-grating cacophony. Even Helen Hunt, who at first appears to be a calm in the midst of this maelstrom, (Look out! This may "ruin" it for ya!) turns out to be a man-eating snake.

Enter Dr. T: The Rock of Gibraltar, the only character with more substance than a french fry. Nothing phases him; not his wife getting naked in a crowded shopping center and thus being committed to an insane asylum (because, as her psychoanalyst puts it, Dr. T. just loved her too much), not his daughter who runs into the arms of her lesbian lover rather than her fiancee - at the altar no less, not the hordes of sex-starved and under-appreciated women who clamor into his office almost daily, and no, not even a Texas tornado. That's right. Dr. T. survives a tornado that would've made Dorothy and Toto proud -- without a scratch! He gets up, dusts himself off, and follows some Spanish speaking children to a remote Mexican village just in time to deliver a baby (and yeah, they show EVERYTHING). What a man!

The suspension of disbelief required for this film to have any redeeming qualities is going to break the bell curve. Please, instead of cursing your poor video-box-reading judgement like I have been, do something comparatively constructive. Like watching infomercials.
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Satisfying, But Not Great Altman
gbheron20 December 2003
Robert Altman appreciates women. It shows in his movies; women are often the main characters, and his films offer up a variety of interesting roles for actresses. Dr. T and the Women is almost entirely about women, modern day wealthy Texas women. Richard Gere plays Dr. Sully Travis a very successful and popular Dallas gynecologist. Not only is he surrounded by women all day at work, but his family consists entirely of women. Only a couple of male buddies enter into his closed, female dominated life. And like all good Altman movies there are plenty of quirky characters and intersecting plotlines.

The problem is that the plotlines aren't that interesting or original. Dr. T's wife develops a rare mental disorder that affects only the wealthy, and must be institutionalized. The new female golf pro comes on to Dr. T, as does his nurse. His soon-to-be-married daughter is slowly realizing that she may be a lesbian. And so on.

For Altman fans, Dr. T and the Women is not a bad rental. The director has done better, but it's still Altman. Others, less interested, might want to give this a pass.
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Ah, Feminism, the feminist's new enemy
tieman6413 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"We haven't come close to the medium's full potential yet. Everything is still so linear." – Robert Altman

Altman's technique is so alien, that most viewers automatically dismiss his films as being shoddily put together, which is a shame, because he really is one of the most consistently interesting directors out there.

Typically, Altman begins by constructing an environment (military hospital, theatre, rodeo, diner etc), introducing a large cast, inserting some self referential "performance within a performance" (play, wedding, radio show, etc) and then adopting a style in which the whole cinematic world flows independently of what we see. In other words, his plots seem to unfold even when we don't watch, his camera floating from one nodule to the next, stumbling upon bits and pieces of a "story". But the story is itself non-defined, and it's up to us to synthesise the pieces and make it all coherent.

The environment in this case is Dallas, Texas, a world which Altman viciously reduces to a set of stereotypes (Altman is always at his most mean-spirited in his supposedly lighter, more comedic movies). This is a cartoon world of gas guzzling, upper class Texans, giant SUVs, vapid students, expensive clothing, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, JFK conspiracy theorists and so forth. Even the film's lead character is cast solely as to allow Altman to exploit Richard Gere's iconography (Gere has made a career out of playing suave womanizers).

The film begins with a horde of women bickering in a gynaecologist's reception room. Their voices overlap and overlap until we're left with nothing but annoying static. It's up to Dr. T, a smooth, suave and sexy gynaecologist (played by Richard Gere, of course), to untangle all this noise and please his woman, satisfying their needs and fulfilling their various emotional problems.

The very next scene works as a counterpoint. Dr T's mentally unstable wife walks through a shopping mall, takes off all her clothes and dances in a fountain. No surprise that she's under a shop sign which links her to a deity. She's not only a goddess, an innocent nymph who exists only to be naked, worshipped, twirl and look pretty, but another up-market commodity. As one psychologist says in the film, she's been "loved and pampered too much", Dr T putting his wife on such a high a pedestal that she eventually regresses to a childlike state, unable to do anything for herself.

What follows are a number of symbolic little scenes. The men in the film are dumb carnalists who hunt and shoot flying golf balls, whilst the women are all ditsy airheads, drunks, lesbians or vacuous shopaholics. The women of Dallas are also fighting for a Dallas freeway to be named after a woman, an act which Dr T himself supports; anything to keep the ladies happy.

Existing outside all these characters is a woman played by Helen Hunt. She's a retired golf pro, far more calm and collected than all the idiotic characters swirling around her. As a professional golfer, she's literally "in command" of all the balls in the film. She and Gere forge a romance, but she abruptly calls it off when he offers to provide and take care of all her needs. "Why would I want that?" she says with a shrug. Helen Hunt - the only female huntsman in the film - knows that men hide their dependency needs and narcissistic vulnerability behind a fairly primitive phallic chauvinism. She's also aware that men symbolically control their women through phallic mastery, supremacy and dependence.

The film then becomes a sort of feminist tract, Hunt's character raising the issue of female empowerment and opining that women should "follow their hearts", "reject society's expectations", "be independent", "be strong" and "be as sexually promiscuous as men". Another character in the film, played by Kate Hudson, exhibits this same character arc: she turns her back on marriage and various authority figures (breaks the rules, answers phone in class etc) and embraces a lesbian love affair.

But while the film advocates a form of women's liberation and suggests that women strongly dependent on men accomplish nothing (naming a freeway after a woman isn't a point for feminism, it's just a way to further placate loudmouths), such things are hardly new. It's been over half a century since the largest feminist movements, and if Altman genuinely wished to say something about womanhood, he'd have done so decades ago.

No, what the film's really doing is presenting Dallas as the last bastion against the feminist revolution, and Gere, who thinks he's some smooth lover of women, as an unwitting ally of the anti-feminists. Worship at the alter of the uterus, in other words, and you reduce woman to the various stereotypes in the film. You remove their complexity, their desires. The alcoholism and vacuity of the women in the film is the direct result of men fawning over them.

But the film goes further than this; so much so that you might even call it anti-feminist. Remove the chivalrous romantics like Gere, Altman says, and you're left with a world of Helen Hunts, family units destroyed, everyone sexually liberated, self-centric and cold. After realising this, Gere drives off into the rain, is sucked into a magical tornado (yes this really happens) and delivers a young Mexican woman's baby. In graphic detail, we see a child emerging from a bloody womb, a scene which immediately and violently clashes with everything we've seen before. Romance is gone, in other words, and replaced with cold biology.

And yet Gere finds some nobility in his newfound role. Holding a blood smeared baby in his hands he allows himself a smile. He still worships at the altar, but that altar is no longer pretty.

8/10 – Excellent. Incidentally, Doctor T's name, Sullivan Travis, alludes to Preston Sturges "Sullivan's Travels", both films about a character learning their true value and contribution to society.
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"Dr. P.U."
smelt14 March 2002
This is only the second time I've been irritated enough to write a review, the other was "Trixie."

First of all, I'm a fan of "The Player" and of "Short Cuts," among other Altman movies. So when I was at first annoyed and angered by the beginning of this movie, I passed it off to his soon-to-come deeper agenda, which in "Dr. T..." never arrives.

I loathe this movie. Let me count the ways:

1. (Most importantly) We are led to empathize with a man who believes he loves too much, too hard, and hence, the consequences. This, if played out, would be great, as he gets his come-uppance, realizes the self-delusion and that his life and ways with women is a lie. But that's not what happens. We are supposed to feel sorry for and sympathize with him the entire way, even as he cheats, avoids true responsibility and, despite what the ending is supposed to say, never changes. Rather than the boy-birth being a sign of evolution/change/enlightenment, it debunks all that came before, in fact saying that all these women were the problem all along. Instead of being a witty examination of flawed Dallas women, it concludes with a tacked-on non-epiphany, which by its very existence makes everything before it misogynistic, and none of the characters likeable.

2. Watch how many times Altman works in gratuitous nudity, like an 11 yr. old peeping tom. When he shows Janine Turner's derriere-crack, at the end of her scene, it's not Richard Gere following it with his eyes, it's the CAMERA, as if to say, "hey, look at this" -- like a little elbow in our sides.

3. He does the same thing often at the end of scenes, swinging the camera with a wink to pick up a sign, a heavy-handed metaphor or scene-link that is beginning film school pretentious artifice at its worst.

4. The editing and cinematography again is of the film-school variety, and at often times is like a rough cut.

5. Helen Hunt, who for years has been trying to convince us she's newly "sexy," is so self-conscious that we never can buy into any kind of character. I am sick of her flinging her hair.

6. The camera holds so long on the golf sequences, as if to say - "these actors really can play golf," which they really don't very well. But it becomes a call-attention lingering as opposed to a mere setting for dialogue.

7. The overly intrusive soundtrack by Lyle Lovett may be close to the worst in history. Not only does it blot out large sequences of dialogue, and call attention to itself mindlessly at every turn, it actually has lyrics which say exactly what's going on in the scene.

8. The writing and dialogue are extremely sophomoric; very few times do the people seem real in what they're saying, and often they resort to movie cliche-speak.

9. Gere has a few good real moments, but the direction hurts him as well.

10. Altman's trademark "everyone speaking at once," in this movie is contrived and annoying.

11. (And maybe worst of all) this movie made me replay all the movies of Altman that I really like and see that many of tendencies above that I criticize are prevalent in ALL of his movies, now tempering my enjoyment of them. I now see a old lecher with a misogynistic bent and an arrested development, calling attention to his weaknesses in a pretentious and juvenile way.
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Cuts Like A Knife!
meeza26 June 2001
`What's up Doc?' I will tell you what is up! Set your appointment book and schedule a visit to see `Dr. T & The Women'- the latest film by Director Robert Altman. Richard Gere stars as a gynecologist who must deal with the neurotic women in his life: a mentally-impaired childlike wife, a witty golf pro mistress, a champagne sipping sister, a lesbian daughter, a kennedy-assassination obsessed control freak daughter, and of course his hypochondriac-impatient patients. The film is full of `altmanrisms'- an overlapping dialogue, a catastrophic occurrence in a public event, and of course satirical viewpoints of a certain profession. Gere saves his career again with a remarkable performance. However, it was Laura Dern's work as the champagne sipping sister that still hungover in my mind after I watched the movie. It was a very critical condition that academy award voters overlooked her brilliant acting. Altman again is able to get some well-known actors to appear in his movies- Farrah Fawcett, Helen Hunt, Tara Reid, Liv Tyler, Kate Hudson, and Shelley Long are the other female players involved in this one. The one headache I had with `Dr T. & The Women' was the somber characterizations of Dr. T's male buddies. These characters should have been rescheduled to another movie. All in all, Director Robert Altman (in my viewpoint one of the smartest directors of all time) was able to complete a successful cinematic operation on `Dr T. & The Women.' So take two hours, go see this movie, and call me in the morning. **** Good
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Scrambled Ovaries
tedg14 October 2000
Robert Altman is frustratingly inconsistent, and here is at his worst. His very personal style has three characteristics:

1. Many-threaded storylines and characters, many of which raise questions that are not answered in the play. When done well, you get the impression of moving through the world with a curious voyeurism, dipping into many lives which are intriguing enough to learn more about. Except for the youngest daughter, none of these women are worth digging more into. The misogynism could have been an advantage; here it is cheap.

2. Spontaneous acting. Altman doesn't tell his actors what to do, trusting them to bring something fresh. In the best case, the differing visions of the actors add to the manyhued effect described above. But you need powerful actors like he had in "Cookie's Fortune." These folks, some of whom are fine when given direction, simply can't synthesize.

3. Wonderful tracking shots (which move from character to character so enhance the two effects noted above). Check out the first shot in "The Player." That alone is worth the admission. Here, we have a busily choreographed shot at the beginning and a dizzy pullback at the end, but neither to any useful effect.

Avoid this film. The master was asleep.
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A Sarcastic good movie about Texas
davidprt14 August 2007
Gere appears to be having such a luscious time surrounded by the film's fuzzy sketch of genteel, grotesque, distaff Texas that he's forgotten to be smug. A surprisingly spry and funny film with a solidly serious core. The slightly anachronistic absurdity of the conceit -- the travails of a lone gentleman in a world of ladies -- gives the actors room to do some wonderful work. It was a sweet film with some bizarre touches in its satire of the bourgeois.Dr. T and the Women may put off people who only look for action and a plot-by-numbers storyline, but should be seen by people who crave adventurous film making. Watch it with a open mind.
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Don't expect "Pretty Woman"
Rachel-2027 August 2004
If you sit down to this movie expecting your average romantic comedy you're going to come away, as many of the reviewers here did, befuddled and probably seriously disappointed. I'm no high-art film critic, but I had the advance warning, of sorts, of having watched the previews on the VHS edition of this movie (of all things), which let me know not to expect anything ordinary from it. Plus it's Robert Altman, right? So I went into it expecting not to take things at face value -- and that's what you have to do to enjoy this movie. The idea is that you have this man who treats women with love, respect, and chivalry. He is surrounded by demanding women all day long, and yet the focus on the individual patients whose encounters with him we witness shows the truth of something he says to his friends: every woman is unique. And then we see the different ways in which the women respond: His office manager falls in love with him. His patients demand more and more (and are very well-directed). His wife goes insane because she's loved too much (a diagnosis as obviously unrealistic as hers HAS to have been written into the story for a reason). His daughters rely on him, shock him, disappoint him. His sister-in-law takes advantage of his hospitality while drinking herself into a stupor. His girlfriend (who is kind of a man's woman) rejects his chivalrous overtures ("I'll do it! I'll get it!"), is the only self-sufficient woman in the film, and ultimately rejects his offer for an interdependent relationship. All these combine to create a world whose stresses pile up until a surreal conclusion whisks Dr. T away to a completely different world... where straight away he's put back to work, and he delivers a boy. And who can blame him for being relieved.

Overall this is a movie I'm glad I saw once; it was an interesting experience. Kudos to Richard Gere for probably the best acting I've ever seen him do.
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Hit and miss Altman, but some master touches
Geofbob22 July 2001
Like much of Robert Altman's work, this is a hit and miss movie, but worth seeing for some good performances, several genuinely funny scenes, and some of the master's typical ensemble sequences with all hell breaking loose while everybody talks at once! It is probably unhelpful to approach it as though it was a full-blooded satire on wealthy Texas women. For a start, the target is too easy - like the floating and walking birds Dr T and his buddies seem to think it's fair to shoot at - and in any case the focus of the film is not the Women of the title, but Dr T.

Richard Gere gives a typically charming and understated, performance as Dr T (for Travis), who is surrounded by women whom he likes and respects in private life, and cares for in his professional life as a gynecologist, but no more understands than most men. Farrah Fawcett gives a touching portrayal as his wife, who retreats into childhood to escape his smothering affection. Helen Hunt, as an independently-minded, intelligent golf pro, provides a refreshing change - both for Dr T and the audience - from the empty-headed shopaholics who people much of the movie. Laura Dern, Kate Hudson and Shelley Long sparkle as, respectively, Dr T's sister-in-law, daughter and receptionist. (As we might expect from Altman, the city of Dallas also plays a leading role; and the best casting is definitely that of Eric Ryan as the "birth baby"; Eric enters the IMDb actors data base at the tender age of zero!)

This is a long way from the vintage Altman of Mash, Nashville and The Player; but is still richer than most Hollywood fare.
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Its different (spoilers)
Ben_Cheshire29 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Please read this after you've seen the movie.

I think its an incredible film. You won't have seen another movie like it. I can't stop thinking about it. If Truffaut were alive, he'd remind us that if the ending seems inconsistent to us, it might mean there's an underlying rhythm in the movie we've missed, or perhaps we're not thinking outside the square.

(spoilers ahead - if you haven't seen film, don't read)

It seems that we are lead to believe in the inherent good of Dr T, and that he's wasting his efforts bestowing it on a bunch of loony ungrateful women. If this were just a narrative movie without anything to say at all, i think Dr T would have just had a happy ending with Helen Hunt's character. I was quite shocked when he didn't. This further twist seems to reinforce a message that no woman can be trusted by a good man. And the minute a man gets close to understanding and appreciating women (if anyone had the opportunity to do this, it was Dr T), he is either repulsed or rejected by them. The Freudian-sounding complex that Dr T's wife contracts came about (in the world of the film, which is a bit like Fellini's City of Women) because she was too appreciated, too understood, too loved by Dr T! The minute he finds a woman who appeals to him for her seeming lack of femanine qualities (Helen Hunt exists in a man's world. She is selfless around men, she walks naked in front of Dr T, and it is she who initiates the sexual encounter) - she disappoints him.

The movie often makes light of women's troubles: everything from accusing women of seeing a gynacologist for sexual gratification, to lousy, jealous bickering.

I was amazed that the original script was written by a woman. But then again, with Robert Altman films this usually doesn't dictate the final product, which is born of improvisation and collaboration with actors on set. The final product they have produced in this case is quite a cynical, dark, misogynistic film. The furthest thing from a comedy. And this is mainly given by the ending. The ending feels like the place where Altman really took over and thought of a way to wrap things up. It seems as if improvisation and collaboration produced the movie up until the wedding scene - and only at the end did they decide how it would end. Only once they'd grown so irritated by all the female characters they'd created!

Yet witnessing a live birth on screen is absolutely astonishing - and this is optimistic, reminding us of the miracle of birth. But, once again, the final scene in Mexico seems only to serve as a prelude to Dr T's line: "Its a boy." The entire end sequence is a genocide of women enacted. At the wedding, while the storm is going, Dr T strikes up a big grin: suddenly, he seems to see something, have some epiphany. Why is he laughing? Its not anything obvious to us - what should be funny about this chaotic situation? The answer perhaps is given by what happens next, the ending. Dr T has just witnessed his daughter effectively marry another woman (they kiss at the alter and run down the aisle together, acting out a mock-wedding), symbolising women all running off together and keeping themselves entertained. At this point Dr T strikes up his grin, and gets in the wedding car ALONE (representing MAN). Still clinging to some last vestige of marriage, he goes to see Helen Hunt, and the final woman of the film, the blokiest woman, is still, after all, a woman - she lets him down. At this point, Dr T drives off towards a mythical scene, rather more like The Wizard of Oz than anything we've been prepared for in this movie. He is swept up in a hurricane and lands the next morning in Mexico, like the opening of The Tempest, and the closing of Shakespeare in Love. We expect him to say, "What land is this?" as he is discovered in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and indeed represents one. What has figuratively happened is Dr T has left all the women he has known behind, to be ravaged by the hurricane, or what you will. The filmmakers have literally wiped out every female character we have come to know, and we are left with Dr T, presumably free of the City of Women. Then he is led by some mexican children, who discover him and his number plate which tells them he's a doctor, to a hut where a woman is in labour. He takes off his wedding ring, delivers the child and declares with a resounding laugh: "Its a boy! Its a boy!" We realise what Dr T was laughing about at the wedding. He's realised that men are better off without women. His friends were right all along.

Perhaps not an entirely pleasant or regular ending, but after reading my analysis, i think it makes a whole lot more sense in the world of the movie, where women are, on the whole, a nightmare. Tara Reid's character does not exactly fit into this framework. She seemed like quite a pleasant girl. But is this perhaps why her character seemed not to respect the sombre event of the assassination of JFK? Is this why the tone in her voice and the atmosphere of her grassy-knoll tour invited us to laugh at these events? To get us to dislike her?

I say it is an incredible film because i'll probably see it again, and because it was almost entirely refreshing and unexpected. I like Altman's style, which feels like free-jazz - a collection of elements which crescendo in the office scenes to a polyphony not usually seen in movies. This kind of chaos is impossible to script and make look unscripted. These moments are the gold in Altman's canon. Despite all its mysogynistic flavours, its quite an enjoyable movie - and you don't realise how negatively someone (who is the author of this work? when its collaboratively produced the term author is irrelevant - Altman is more like a conductor than an author) regarded these female characters till the ending. As the film progresses the portrait of each of them gets clearer and darker, in a moral sense. At the same time they are all still shallow characatures at the end of the movie. The only character we really get to know is Dr T. Perhaps this is because someone knew from the beginning he would be the only one to survive the hurricane.
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Not What I Expected, but I Loved it...
ijonesiii27 December 2005
I may be in the minority here, but I loved DR. T AND THE WOMEN, mainly because it wasn't what I expected. Looking at the title and the cast, I expected a smarmy sex comedy about a doctor who is irresistible to all of his patients and is running from exam room to exam room getting his clothes torn off and then I saw that Robert Altmann directed it and decided to give it a look. I found this film to be an intelligent and winning comedy about a doctor who actually loves and respects his female patients as well as the various females in his life. Richard Gere has rarely been more appealing on screen as the doc of the title and he is surrounded by an impressive group of actresses at the top of their game. Helen Hunt plays the golf pro he falls for. Laura Dern is very funny as his alcoholic sister-in-law. Shelley Long has some funny moments as his office manager who harbors a secret crush on her boss. Kate Hudson and Tara Reid play Doctor T's daughters and in a brief but memorable cameo, Farrah Fawcett as Gere's mentally unstable wife who ends up institutionalized. This film is a little more structured than most of Altmann's previous work and doesn't require the usual work necessary to enjoy an Altmann film and the straight forward scripting is a big help. I know a lot of people found the ending troubling, but to me it was classic Altmann...a little crazy, a little off-center, and leaving questions unanswered...something we Altmann fans have come to expect of him.
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The other reviewers are missing the point
sheckylovejoy24 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe I watched the same movie as the other reviewers. Not only is this a great film, it's one of Altman's best, despite an indifferent performance by Richard Gere in the lead. (Major spoilers to follow)

In Short Cuts, Altman brilliantly explored the multifaceted ways in which men's hostility, aggression and violence towards women effected women. This film is the flipside. Dr. T. takes care of all his wife's needs, both physical and emotional, to such an extent that she has an emotional breakdown, receding into a childlike state. Beyond this is the love, compassion and support he has for all the women in his life: daughters, sister-in-law, nieces, staff, patients. At the same time, he falls for Helen Hunt's character, the new golf pro at his club - up until now the only place where he is with men. She is the exact opposite of all other women in his life: strong, independent and self-sufficient. When, in climactic scene, he builds up a huge romantic speech where he promises to take care of her, she makes it clear she has no desire or need to be taken care of. Here lies the central irony of the film, and it is one of the most profound statements I've ever seen on film regarding the illusions of men about women and how it effects women.
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Are 'allegory' and 'whimsy' just totally lost on people these days, or something???!
Howlin Wolf28 November 2004
... It doesn't so much 'depress' me that people don't like this film, as it does when I find out the REASONS people dislike it. I didn't even feel moved to comment until I realized the staggering lack of depth that's comprised in most people's criticisms here. I figured that I'd just watched a pleasant enough comedic trifle. Apparently not.

People, dislike this film by all means - it's hardly the best I've ever seen - but don't vilify it for the very qualities that were wholly intentional. I mean, how many of the 'naysayers' here have even the SLIGHTEST passing knowledge of Frank Capra???! There were odd moments here and there in this that struck me as being decidedly Capraesque...

Gere is PERFECT as the guy who - without arrogance - is convinced that he can be every woman's knight in shining armour... Trouble is, they don't NEED any 'convincing'! So, what exactly happens when you take a guy like this and show him a woman who is, by the best information available, completely self-sufficient? All I can say is: If this scenario even slightly intrigues you, then watch it and find out... !

I think the ending is very fitting, too... (e-mail or PM me for reasons if you disagree; as I don't wish to spoil too much for the good people that are yet to watch!) Rather 'Buddhist' - so surely appropriate for a man of Mr. Gere's persuasion... ?!

(7/10, or ***/***** in profile ratings system.)
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Everything that you need to know about Dallas, you'll learn from this movie.
lee_eisenberg27 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
With "Nashville" and "The Player", Robert Altman did exposes of Nashville and Hollywood, respectively. With "Dr T and the Women", he does an expose of Dallas. Richard Gere plays gynecologist Sullivan Travis, always surrounded by women. But this plethora of females may be about to change his life beyond anyone's wildest imagination.

The first scene of Farrah Fawcett is really likely to blow your mind, and the scene in Dealey Plaza does make one think about just what did happen on November 22, 1963. But overall, we get a pretty scathing look at Dallas (which I've heard is deserved). Fawcett, Helen Hunt, Shelley Long, Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, Liv Tyler, and Lee Grant all play what may be the most interesting collection of women that I've ever seen in a movie. Certainly this is one of Richard Gere's most interesting roles ever. I think that the end implies that he died and went to heaven.

And since it's an Altman movie, it means that everyone's talking at once.
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Brilliant satire
kenandraf25 June 2001
Sattire about weak minded women and the men who equate all women to be all like that.The lesson here in this movie is that more women should take care of themselves more and be more like the few represented by Helen Hunt's character.Another lesson here is that men must not forget that there are women out there who do not need men and as a matter of fact have more balls than most men.It is a requirement for one to have deep enough smarts to understand and appreciate the genius of Altman and this great film.The cinematography was great as well as the direction,story and script.The only weakness was the screenplay but even that was not bad at all.Bravo for this movie that is not afraid to delve into the truth of us unlike so much formulaic mainstream movie garbage hailed so much by brain dead viewers....
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A complete failure of a film
sgyang51130 March 2006
Five years on since I saw this movie, I am still wondering why it was ever made. I sat in the cinema in shock. I only watched this movie to the end because I thought there must be a reason why all these A-list actors agreed to be in it, and there must be a "point" to all this horrendous mess, which would hopefully be made clear at the end. But no such luck. I completely wasted two hours of my life. Worse than that, this movie is such a insult to women, and all humanity, it left me a lasting psychological wound that still makes me angry today.

To be fair, the only culprit is the script. The acting was fine. I can only assume Richard Gere and Helen Hunt did it for the money. The story is utterly pointless and worthless. The movie depicts all women as selfish psychos and, by respecting them, Richard Gere loses everything in life. By the way, I'm a man and I was more offended and disgusted by this movie than my wife was.
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Dr. T Gets an A
Brian Scott Mednick6 February 2001
I can think of few directors who have turned out so many quality films in late career as Robert Altman has. "Dr. T and the Women" is Altman's latest, and in telling the story of a popular Dallas gynecologist and the females in his life, Altman has made one of his most enjoyable films yet. Richard Gere gives what has to be his best performance to date as Dr. Sullivan "Sully" Travis. Gere does not get enough credit for being a good actor, and with this performance he shows what enormous range he has. His Dr. T is so engaging and charming, that it is easy to see why he has the following he does. Gere's performance is the centerpiece of a quirky, funny, and hugely entertaining film, one of the best of 2000.
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Diagnosis: a chronic case of the cutes
moonspinner5515 October 2005
Director Robert Altman stumbles at the gate with alarming accuracy: every third or fourth film is something special, and the rest of his output is in complete disarray. Think of "Dr. T" as Exhibit A. Messy misfire about a popular gynecologist (Richard Gere) in Texas, his clientèle, unstable wife (Farrah Fawcett) and a new potential girlfriend (Helen Hunt, unable to free herself from sitcom shtick). There's an awful lot of talent in and around this movie, but no amount manages to make it to the screen. The script is so thin as to be nonexistent, while the characters are poorly conceived. Altman doesn't allow the scenes to take shape, to play out (all of Fawcett's moments, for instance, are chopped short before anything can develop). It's movie-making in shorthand, a laughless comedy-drama which turns fine actresses like Shelley Long, Liv Tyler and Lee Grant into incompetent ninnies. NO STARS from ****
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Not the Train Wreck I Remember; More Like a Ten-Car Pileup
evanston_dad28 August 2009
I saw "Dr. T and the Women" when it premiered at the Chicago Film Festival in 2000. Robert Altman was there, as were Richard Gere and Shelley Long, two of the film's stars. The theatre was buzzing with excitement as the movie started (big starry film premiers are still a novelty in a city like Chicago), and by the time it ended, you could almost physically feel the deflation in the auditorium as everyone realized at the same time that the film was a bomb.

Because I went into the film so hyped and the movie tanks so badly toward its end, I came out thinking it was probably Altman's worst film. After re-watching it on DVD a few days ago, I realize now that the film isn't nearly as disastrous as I remember it being. The final 15 minutes still stink, but all of the movie leading up to those final moments isn't that bad.

Those who call Altman a misogynist are being unfair to him; his body of work contains a large collection of fully realized female characters. If they are frequently treated badly in his films (and many of them are), it's important to remember that it's the male characters treating them that way, not Altman. If anything, a running theme in Altman's work is the crap women have to take from the men in their lives, and several of his films feel like atonements for all the ways boys behave badly.

It's unfortunate, then, that the one film that exists almost exclusively as an homage to women and the beautiful chaos they create in the lives of men is full of female caricatures and cartoon types. Not a single female character in this movie feels like a three-dimensional creation, and it's a shame because there is plenty of talent assembled to play them. Gere actually manages to give one of the better performances of his career as the man whose picture-perfect life begins to unravel because of the unpredictable female tidal wave bearing down on him, but the screenplay doesn't bring his story or anything else to any kind of conclusion. How ironic that the film was written by a woman.

Altman has always been willing to take risks, and for that I applaud him. But his experiments in this film fail badly. After sticking with a meandering story for nearly two hours, it's as if the film's creators decided they didn't know how the hell they wanted their movie to end, shrug their shoulders and give their audience the finger. The tone abruptly changes into one of slapstick comedy that comes out of nowhere, and a surreal ending that might have worked if anything leading up to it had prepared the audience for it feels stupid.

The female cast includes Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Shelley Long, Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, Laura Dern, Lee Grant and Janine Turner. Fawcett's barely in the movie; Long and Dern, while providing many of the film's laughs, are asked to do embarrassing things; Turner apparently just turned up on the set one day and Altman set about finding something for her to do. I think we're supposed to see all of these women taken together as representing the different facets of every woman's personality, but none of the women in this movie resembles any woman I actually know.

The highlight of the film comes early -- it's a tremendous single tracking shot during the opening credits set in a gynecologist's office. Everything after that is downhill.

Still, the nadir of Altman's oeuvre that I measure every other film of his against is "Beyond Therapy" (1987), and this movie isn't nearly as bad as that. It's not even as bad as "Quintet" or "Popeye," and I have to say that it beats "A Wedding" in a squeaker.

Grade: C
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Despite all its "Star Power", and some very good performances this film stinks - BIG TIME! Contains Spoilers
jazkat16 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I believe that the majority of movies, mediocre to bad, began with good ideas. They were executed poorly in one area or another (or in many areas). I also believe that in most cases great writers, directors, and casts could have made those mediocre to bad films good. the Dr. T crew just couldn't pull this one off. Go figure? With a cast of Richard Gere, Farrah Fawcett, Helen Hunt, Tara Reid, Liv Tyler, Kate Hudson, and Shelley Long. And Robert Altman directing .

With that kind of pedigree you'd think this movie would have been an Oscar consideration, at least a top box office draw. Yet, it got all it deserved (actually too much). This film is a great example of how a crappy story , bad editing, and poor dialogue can make great actors look foolish. It also goes to show that great actors make bad decisions. This project leads its cast blindly over a cliff like lemmings. Fortunately most of them are good enough to survive this nightmare freefall.

The Plot: What was the hell was the plot? A gynecologist has a lot of women in his life - ALL THE TIME! They are odd, cranky, drunk, lesbian, hypochondriac, and crazy. BIG DEAL! There was nothing in this movie that helped me bond or even identify with Dr. Travis (and I have 3 girls, a wife, my mother-in-law lives with us, and I'm the only man in an office of six other women). There was no real development of his character (or the story for that matter) because there were so many subplots and situations, unnecessary scenes (like all the useless uninformative waiting room crap) and minor characters to deal with. No director (not even Altman) could fully develop such a confusing convoluted pail of swill.

There was no resolution in this film. Well, that's not fair. the lesbian thing was resolved, but nothing else. We know his wife is still in the hospital - what happened to her? We know that she wanted a divorce - did anything happen with that? The whole alcoholic sister thing was a waste of celluloid (though Laura Dern was great in the role). She had no significance, no bearing on the characters or the plot. Dr. T's buddies came off as neutered dogs worshipping their master (Dr. Travis).

And the ending! What the hell was that? He drives into a tornado, lands near a Mexican family's shack and delivers a baby boy. THE END!

Sorry folks, this one isn't worth the video rental fee, or the 2 hours of wasted life that could be put to better use - like catching up on the latest WWF rivalry.
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marylcritter20 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Horrible, don't waste your time. I found this DVD in a old box and watched it. Total Trash. I threw it away.... Dr. T (Richard Gere) has an affair with Helen Hunt while his wife is in a mental hospital is ridiculous. The ending, oh my. Dr. T gets blown in a tornado from Dallas to Mexico. Come on! Soo stupid. I didn't understand the office scenes. They were very load and confusing. All the actress were blonde and all looked alike. It took me twenty minutes to realize Kate Hudson was in this movie, and then she turns out to be a lesbian. I just didn't get this movie. Why was it made? Save your money and time! Do not watch or buy this movie.
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A sloppy imitation of Altman's earlier great work. Very sad.
bopdog9 February 2001
I got this DVD as a surprise for my roommate. She had really wanted to see this, and I mostly did too. Great cast, marvelous director, etc. What a huge disappointment! It was a silly and sloppy rip-off of the great Robert Altman's movies from the 1970's. Not just a rip-off, which is bad enough, but a poorly done one at that.

Where Altman's movies had a raucous, buzzing excitement that "inadvertently" built the organic edifice of the movies' tones and purposes (the stories)-- this one was merely confused, loud, jabbery, and pointless. Oh wait-- "Dr. T & the Women" was actually directed by the real Robert Altman? Yikes! What's happened to his eye? His style? His artistic senses? Could the passage of time really be that decrimental? Can genius really become stale and pale as we get older? If that can happen with a great artist such as Altman-- what about mere mortals such as myself! Now, for the first time, I am beginning to fear my own aging process.

"Dr. T & the Women" was a waste of talent-- Altman's, the otherwise wonderful cast, and even me as an audience member. Instead of this hollow tripe-- go and rent "Betsy's Wedding," "Nashville," or "MASH."

Final note: my roommate and I were repeatedly amazed at how very GOOD Helen Hunt is. Dang! We both remarked several times that even in the midst of all the continually annoying and superficially rendered characters and scenes, Hunt was so spectacular that she brought real depth and grace to her part. Is there anything that woman cannot do? If there is, we haven't seen it yet. The other actors appeared to be doing their best, and at times Shelley Long's character began to "breath." These were all great actors, and it is a shame to have to see them vainly working away in a flop. It appeared as if everyone was working hard to do what they were asked-- but alas, and to repeat-- this time out the movie failed them all.
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Rooster994 September 2002
Could this movie be any duller? Robert Altman has directed some classics in his time (The Player, Short Cuts, Gosford Park), but has been plagued by a long series of losers. Did anyone actually see Cookie's Fortune? I hope not because it was extremely slow-paced and of little interest. This film is no better.

The movie is set in Dallas with Richard Gere as a gynecologist. He has a wealth of patients due to his looks and appealing bedside manner. Altman makes great use of the fact that he is a lone man in a woman's world. Naturally he has a wife and 2 daughters, and a divorced sister-in-law who herself has 3 daughters (no males at all). He is literally surrounded by women. However, every woman in this film (with the possible exception of Farrah Fawcett) is extremely annoying. They keep jabbering away about nothing, fighting provoked by petty jealousies, worrying about minute details related to their clothing, and talking incessantly on their cell phones. It is extremely aggravating and awfully stereotypical. Perhaps that was Altman's point?

At any rate, nothing happens in the film. It slows to a crawl in the middle. Even the presence of a large number of famous blond actresses cannot save this film (Tara Reid, Kate Hudson, Farrah Fawcett, Helen Hunt, Shelley Long, and Laura Dern). It is deathly slow and goes nowhere. The only excitement comes about in a terribly predictable manner. What an utter disappointment. If it weren't for the terrific Gosford Park, I would have thought that Altman had lost his touch.

2 out of 10
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