Birth Year Films: The Butcher’s Wife (1991)

Today is my 25th birthday, and in honor of the occasion I’m starting a new tradition here on TMP! In previous years I’ve celebrated my birthday on the blog in several different ways…

In 2012, I shared a list of stars and classic Hollywood figures that share my birthday. Two days later, I also shared a list of five of my favorite Clara Bow films, since the actress and I share a birthday. In 2013, I shared my “Favorite things about…” House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price, one of the first classic actors I became a fan of. In 2014, I explored my family’s history with film after discovering that my great-grandpa worked at a movie palace. In 2015, I shared a “Book vs. Film” post on one of my favorite newer films, Ghost World.

Now, you all know that while TMP is largely a classic film blog, I’ve dabbled in reviewing newer films now and then if I have a lot to say about them or think they’re worth recommending. When I watched The Butcher’s Wife in late 2015 I decided to do a full review of it, but couldn’t quite figure out where to place it in the schedule, until I remembered that it was released in 1991, my birth year.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I swiftly drafted the review, put it on the schedule for today, and waited a whole seven months to share it with you all! Since my age is now a quarter of a century, the films of my birth year may not be “old movies” in the same sense that we Old Movie Weirdos usually use the term, but they are kinda getting up there in years. So, I’ve decided to review one of these “old-ish” movies every year, sharing my thoughts on July 29 to celebrate my birthday.

With that over-long intro out of the way, let’s get to the film that sparked this new tradition, The Butcher’s Wife. It’s no beloved modern classic, boasting a stellar critic rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes (29% audience) and a 5.3/10 on IMDb. Roger Ebert gave it two and a half stars — the same rating he gave to both Twilight: Breaking Dawn films and Nicholas Sparks’ The Lucky One.

The Butcher’s Wife, directed by Terry Hughes, tells the story of Marina (Demi Moore), a clairvoyant young woman from a small island town in North Carolina. She firmly believes that the sea will bring her soulmate to her, and when New York City butcher Leo Lemke (George Dzundza) washes up on the beach, she’s sure they’re destined to be together.

A few days later they marry, and Marina heads to the big city with her new husband, where she helps him run the butcher shop. She can’t help but intervene when her clairvoyance allows her to give advice to the people of the neighborhood — music instructor Stella (Mary Steenburgen), troubled teen Eugene (Max Perlich), actress Robyn (Margaret Colin), clothing shop owner Grace (Frances McDormand), and disbelieving psychiatrist Alex (Jeff Daniels). Complications and consequences follow.

(Image via Sky Movies)

(Image via Sky Movies)

Demi Moore is reminiscent of a mermaid in her role of Marina, strolling the streets of NYC with wild blonde curls, bare feet, and the ability to predict the futures of everyone around her. Moore was a good choice for the role, portraying Marina as a little bit spacey, but also very sweet, likable, and well-intentioned.

While it may not have been a hit with the critics and may not have any lasting reputation, I enjoyed The Butcher’s Wife quite a bit.  While it certainly is predictable, it’s very lovable, with a few moments that gave me out-loud laughs. Fluff, but highly enjoyable fluff. It’s a charming rom-com, doused in a few heaping spoonfuls of magic, and worth a watch for any hopeless romantic or fan of the genre.

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13 thoughts on “Birth Year Films: The Butcher’s Wife (1991)

  1. Clayton @ Phantom Empires says:

    1991!?! You’re barely even alive, hahaha. 1967 here! When you were born I was just leaving desert storm to go to Somalia, from ’90 to ’94…I didn’t see a lot of movies that year, just lots of desert. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, maybe, and BOYZ IN DA HOOD? :)

    Happy Birthday.

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    • Lindsey says:

      Yep, I’m a total baby, haha. My interests belie my youth! This will be a fun series to continue each year, since most of the films I watch/love were released well before my time.

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  2. Paul S says:

    Happy belated birthday!
    I’ve never seen The Butcher’s Wife, but it does stick in my mind as one of the many films Meg Ryan was linked with in her heyday. Reading your review, it looks to have a strong cast. Frances McDormand and Mary Steenburgen! I’m curious…

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    • Lindsey says:

      Thank you! Yes, I did read that Meg Ryan was considered for the lead! Would have been interesting to see, but Moore does a good job with it. If you have Netflix (US), it was still available there last I checked. :)

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  3. Todd B says:

    Happy b-lated b-day! I like this new tradition for your blog…sounds like fun. For whatever reason, the ’90s were a strange decade for me, cinematically speaking; I hardly remember any noteworthy movies from that time, and I definitely haven’t reviewed many for my blog. But looking at 1991, I’d say my three favorites of the year were Barton Fink, Silence of the Lambs, and Dead Again.

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    • Lindsey says:

      I only wish my birthday came ’round more than once a year so I could cover more of the films, haha. Perhaps I should also post on my half-birthday! From looking at the list, it was a pretty good year. I’ll have to add Dead Again to my watch list. Never heard of it until you mentioned it.

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      • Todd B says:

        I’ve seen Dead Again just once, at the theater when it was first released in ’91, and thought it was a lot of fun. I hope my memory doesn’t betray me, or you!

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        • Lindsey says:

          Based on Wikipedia’s description of the film as a “romantic fantasy neo-noir mystery thriller” and the fact that it stars Emma Thompson, it shouldn’t disappoint!

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