Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Fay Bainter
Director: George Stevens
Running Time: 114 mins
Woman Of The Year is an American film about two reporters who fall in love, however the man begins to feel frustrated when he discovers how hectic his new wife’s lifestyle really is.
This is a weird sort of screwball comedy. Yes, it’s got a great central relationship that is pretty interesting to follow, with a clear female domination in the shape of Katharine Hepburn’s expert reporter over Spencer Tracy’s seemingly innocent character, however it’s a much more low-key film in terms of the crazy comedy that you expect from big screwball comedies.
The main thing that I loved about this film, however, was the central performances from Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. They had such apparent on-screen chemistry, and despite their characters’ totally opposing personalities, they work so well together and within the context of the story, which really makes it a lot of fun to watch.
Meanwhile, the first part of the film is hugely enjoyable, because it’s got a lot more comedy in it. Tracy and Hepburn are dynamite in the initial phases, while there’s also a lot of slapstick that makes it a consistent comedy bringing laugh-a-minute gags.
Also, you get to see a great period of establishing their relationship. While it appears that Katharine Hepburn is the one who wears the trousers, in the field of baseball, Spencer Tracy has the upper hand, and that odd but trivial conflict between the two of them is fun as well as interesting to watch.
However, I have to say that once this film settles down into the two’s marriage, it does start to tire and quiet down a lot. Instead of having the continuation of all that comedy, it delves a lot deeper into the couple’s relationship troubles, and becomes significantly slower and less screwbally, which isn’t anywhere near as much fun nor as interesting to watch.
The thing that is strong about the latter stages of the film, however, is the development of Spencer Tracy’s character. As you see the tensions between the two unfolding, Tracy undergoes an incredibly dramatic transformation from the innocent, bumbling man he was before into a battle-hardened and depressed person, culminating in a shocking end.
Overall, though, this gets a 7.1, because despite its strong performances, relationship and opening stages, I couldn’t really keep my interest during the slower, tougher latter stage.