John Lyttle on film
Friday 02 February 1996
Take Waiting to Exhale. Or, more accurately, Waiting to Inhale. Everyone - Angela, Whitney (right), Loretta and Lela - puffs their brains out, recycling every snout trick ever committed to celluloid (tapping the ciggie for dramatic emphasis, lighting up slowly for sex appeal, letting the lighter shake nervously on the way to its destination, blowing smoke briskly to denote getting down to business), and you don't sit there po- faced and pondering oxygen starvation, accelerated wrinkling and tumour- invaded lungs, no siree. What you're thinking is, wow, how glamorous, and how transgressive. Which brings us right back to the dawn of the movies, when flappers, jazz babies and hot cha' girls scandalised and tantalised by doing "it" in public - the way Angela does "it" in public, repeatedly, deftly, at a hotel bar, nursing an equally naughty Scotch and water (as Wesley Snipes only half-jokes "Ooh, I'm frightened of you"). What goes around, comes around...
Not that tobacco can do for Basset what it did for Bacall (moving through her own mist in To Have and Have Not), Dietrich (sniff Morocco) or Davis (pick a title, any title). Novelty, like innocence, lasts about as long as 10 Woodbines, and then it's gone, defeated by imitation and knowledge - in this case, the knowledge of cancer. Mind you, it's the knowledge of cancer that perversely makes Exhale's nicotine jags so sick'n' sexy. Which is hard to explain without quoting Jim Carrey's one word come-on/catchphrase/justification: "Smoking!"
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyoncé '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed in low-fi homage to viral video
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track