Look around: There’s enough female bonding on screen these days to resurrect Thelma and Louise. In fact, the fictional feminine outlaws would likely be moved to tears to see so many movies starring powerful female ensemble casts. And speaking of weepy, each film has more tear jerking than a double feature of Terms of Endearment and Love Story. To wit:
Now and Then
Power women: A nouveau Hollywood contingent of Demi Moore, Rita Wilson, Melanie Griffith, and Rosie O’Donnell, and their youthful counterparts Gaby Hoffmann, Asleigh Aston Moore, Thora Birch, and Christina Ricci. Conflict: Old friends bond over Wilson’s pregnancy. Sentimental value: Stand by Me divided by Little Women. Token cute boy: Brendan Fraser as a hunky Vietnam vet.
Waiting to exhale
Power women: Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon, and Loretta Devine. Conflict: Over the course of one year, four Arizona-based girlfriends discuss jobs, lovers, makeovers, and stress. Sentimental value: The Women of Brewster Place minus Boyz N the Hood. Token cute boy: Single-named actor Leon (Above the Rim) as the drop-dead-fine Russell.
How to make an American quilt
Power women: Winona Ryder, Alfre Woodard, Kate Nelligan, and Kate Capshaw team with distinguished doyennes Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, and Maya Angelou. Conflict: Drawing on the insights of her grandmother’s quilting bee, Ryder must decide whether to marry her boyfriend. Sentimental value: Reality Bites plus Fried Green Tomatoes. Token cute boy: Johnathan Schaech (Showtime’s Fallen Angels) as Ryder’s summer lover.
Moonlight and Valentino
Power women: The least-likely-to-be-friends-in-real-life quartet of Elizabeth Perkins, Whoopi Goldberg, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kathleen Turner. Conflict: After Perkins’ husband dies, her best friend, sister, and former stepmother console her. Sentimental value: Terms of Endearment plus Boys on the Side. Token cute boy: Jon Bon Jovi as a sexy housepainter.
– Liza Schoenfein and Jessica Shaw