Picks and Pans Review: The Life and Loves of a She Devil

A&E (Sat., June 27, 10 p.m. ET)


This aggressively strange, sick, cynical and sadistic story started as a 1984 Fay Weldon novel. It now appears as a BBC and A&E miniseries. Next it is reportedly fated to become a movie. After seeing the mini, I just hope the movie adds humor where it’s needed: in every scene. I hope the movie is better produced; as I watched the mini, a colleague walked in and asked, “What is this, a Spanish soap opera in English?” And I certainly hope the movie isn’t four hours long, as this thing is. She Devil stars newcomer Julie T Wallace as Ruth, a 6′,210-lb. mustachioed woman with a mole on her lip, an unnatural affection for chain saws and a sad self-image—”We make good ol’ women, us dogs,” she moans. Her husband, played by Dennis Waterman, gives her even less respect. “I don’t think that Ruth is a natural rape victim, are you darling?” he says. Hubby runs off with Patricia (Betrayal) Hodge, who plays a beautiful romance novelist who says insipid things like, “I see romance as reality at its most radiant.” So Wallace becomes a devil to reap her revenge: burning down her house, dumping her two bratty kids on hubby in his love nest and stealing money from hubby’s business. We are subjected to no end of disgusting and profane scenes: a kid barfing—albeit appropriately—on Hodge’s novel, a fetishist judge whipping Wallace’s naked rear, a dentist drilling Wallace’s teeth to the nub, Wallace suffering the indignity of sex with hubby, Wallace doing likewise with a priest clutching a cross. The moral of this amoral tale seems to be: Romance is a crock, men are creeps and women don’t need men—though one wonders why these women go to so much trouble to lasso this one wimpy fellow.

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