The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States

A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho's "The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States" appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film's real if unacknowledged target.

With:
With: Alexandra Lencastre, Rita Blanco.

A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged target. But even this gives the pic credit for more meaning than it probably possesses. A boring head-scratcher in Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, it is likely to remain a very obscure footnote in veteran Botelho’s filmography.

The woman of the title (elegant blonde Alexandra Lencastre) lives in a luxurious Lisbon villa which she thinks is the White House. But then, so does everyone else, from her obedient secretary (Rita Blanco) to her pot-smoking mother, daughters, staff and re-election committee. Spouting conservative-to-fascist ideas and obsessed with her power to control the world from Kabul to Baghdad to Beijing, she is not a nice lady.

Around her is a farcical collection of catty, petty, back-biting femmes all wearing garish ’60s dresses (the costumes by Silvia Grabowski are genuinely amusing). Adding to the general foolishness of this theatrical talk-fest, the characters are wont to burst into operatic renditions of “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”

One would say the gist is virulently anti-American, but it really doesn’t make much sense to satirize the Bush administration — or any other administration — as a bunch of vain, foolish women.

The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States

Directors Fortnight / Portugal

Production: A Madragoa Filmes/RTP production. (International sales: Gemini Films, Paris.) Produced by Paulo Branco. Directed by Joao Botelho. Screenplay, Botelho, Leonor Pinhao.

Crew: Camera (color) Ines Carvalho; editor, Botelho, Pedro Marques, Waldir Xavier; production designer, Catarina Amaro; costume designer, Silvia Grabowski; sound (Dolby SRD), Philippe Morel. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors Fortnight), May 16, 2003. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Alexandra Lencastre, Rita Blanco.

More Film

  • Rose Byrne

    Film News Roundup: Rose Byrne in Talks to Join Tiffany Haddish's 'Limited Partners'

    A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged […]

  • Cher and Meryl Streep'Mamma Mia! Here

    How the Cast of 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' Geeked Out Around Cher

    A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged […]

  • 'BuyBust' Review

    Film Review: ‘BuyBust’

    A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged […]

  • John Malone

    John Malone, Scott Paterson Retiring From Lionsgate Board

    A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged […]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Parent's Stock Plunges Again to Record Low

    A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged […]

  • Timothee Chalamet

    Timothee Chalamet in Talks to Star in Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune'

    A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged […]

  • Taraji P Henson Sam Rockwell

    Taraji P. Henson-Sam Rockwell Drama 'Best of Enemies' Bought by STX

    A practically incomprehensible Portuguese farce, Joao Botelho’s “The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States” appears to be an indictment of the American government. However, the fact that the film uses an all-female cast in roles of exceptional silliness leaves the unfortunate impression that women may be the film’s real if unacknowledged […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content