“7 Women and a Murder” is an Italian thriller mystery film that is somewhat fun and entertaining to watch, even if it does not leave any effect by the end. On a morning leading up to a grand Christmas family lunch, the patriarch of the family, Marcello, is found murdered with a knife stuck in his back, and seven women linked to him, and the family are now suspects in each other’s eyes. At numerous places in the plot, “7 Women and a Murder” tries to do just too much and, at times, seems to introduce plot points just to throw us off what has really been happening.
‘7 Women and a Murder’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
A young woman named Susanna returns to her countryside home from Milan on the occasion of Christmas, as her family is supposed to spend a few days together. The first person she meets back at home is the new maid, Maria, who rather coldly welcomes Susanna home and makes acquaintance with her. Gradually the rest of the characters are introduced as family members make their appearances and meet the woman one after another, almost mechanically. The family is headed by Susanna’s father, Marcello, and her mother, Margherita. Margherita’s elderly mother, Rachele, and her spinster sister, Agostina, have been living in the house for many years now, despite having moved in for a short stay originally. Perhaps the only family member most excited to have Susanna back is her younger sister Caterina, who is also the youngest individual in the house. Noticing that Marcello is nowhere to be seen yet, Susanna asks to go meet him and learns that the man is still in his private bedroom, owing to the fact that he is not very well. After catching up with the rest of the family members, Susanna, Caterina, Rachele, Margherita, and Agostina all have breakfast while Maria serves them. After this, the maid takes breakfast for Marcello up to his room, and she gets shocked by what she sees there. Her shrieks, and then her reporting to the rest of the family, confirm that Marcello has been murdered inside his very room, with a knife stabbed into his back.
How Do The Seven Women Suspect Each Other Of The Murder?
The whole idea in a film like “7 Women and a Murder” is that each of the living characters grows suspicious of each other. As is usual in such a genre, these characters get stuck together, with the growing uncertainty that one of them might get killed soon. This is the very typical framework that “7 Women and a Murder” makes use of, with no unique or new element in it. There are multiple moments when the filmmaker has tried to make humor out of the situation, especially through the characters and their farcical reaction to events, but such humor falls short of any considerable standard. Like always, in this kind of film, the six women inside Marcello’s grand house are stuck inside after the man’s murder is discovered, for there is a blinding snowstorm raging outside. The women try to contact the police to report the murder but realize that the telephone lines have been cut. One of them thinks of driving away from the house but realizes that the car has also been tampered with, as wires under its hood are all cut up. Later on, Maria decides that she will leave the house on foot, but soon has to run back in and report that the main gate of the house has also been bolted shut by someone. Naturally, all the characters are sure that the murderer is among them, and this situation further complicates when a seventh woman, Veronica, walks into the house. This new woman, who had actually been a long-time lover of Marcello, informs that she had been called up by some woman from the house who had told her something had happened to her lover and asked her to rush to the house.
In quite a predictable fashion, each of the characters has their own secrets, which get revealed as the film progresses. The eldest character, Rachele, is introduced as someone who is unable to walk from the beginning of the film, as she needs to be pushed around in a wheelchair. However, this is later revealed to be her pretense of getting extra help and sympathy from everyone around, and she is actually able to walk very easily. Rachele is obsessed with her stocks, which are the only remaining wealth that she has. The woman always keeps the papers for these stocks under her bed, ensuring that they are always safe. A little while after the murder is discovered, these stocks are found to be missing, too, making Rachele suspect that one of the other women had not only killed her son-in-law but had also stolen all her money. Next is Rachele’s younger daughter and Margherita’s sister Agostina, whose biggest complaint in life seems to be that no man has loved her till now. Agostina is revealed to have dearly loved Marcello, and she used to desire the man, too, despite the fact that he was married to her elder sister. Agostina had made multiple attempts to present her romantic thoughts to Marcello, but the man always avoided her advances in any way he could. Marcello himself was no less than a Casanova, as he had multiple lovers throughout his life, one of which was the new maid, Maria. The house used to have a different older maid earlier, who had strangely died one day after falling while she was cleaning the windows. Maria had come into the house after this, as her sister used to work at a family house acquainted with Marcello’s family and had subsequently fallen in love with the rich man. Margherita had no idea about this, but she, too, was tired of her married life since there was no love left between the couple. It is later revealed that Margherita was having an affair with Marcello’s biggest business associate at the time, Sir Giannutri.
On the other hand, Marcello always had a lover in his life named Veronica, even before he had been married to Margherita, and he kept in touch with Veronica even in present-day times. She had had to share her past lover Marcello, and her house with Margherita, since the house in which the latter and her husband lived was actually the family house of Veronica. But as fate would have it, Veronica also has to share her present lover with Margherita, for she, too, has been having an affair with Sir Giannutri. Margherita’s elder daughter, Susanna, has more than one secret of her own, one of which is a shock and surprise to her too. At present, she is pregnant with a child from her lover in Milan, and she keeps this news away from the family; this is soon revealed after some time. However, at this time, she learns that she is not the biological daughter of Marcello, whom she has always known to be her father, but was instead conceived by Margherita with a lover out of wedlock. It was while Margherita was pregnant with Susanna that she first met Marcello, who fell in love with her and married her soon after. Lastly, there is the younger sister, Caterina, but she does not seem to have any secrets or anything suspicious about her, except for the fact that she locks up her father’s room after the discovery of his murder, stating that nobody should damage the crime scene before the police arrive. But as things turned out, Caterina had the biggest secret of them all.
Through a series of confrontations among the characters, it is revealed that each of them had met with Marcello the previous night without letting the others know. The man had gotten into some financial trouble in recent times, for which he had asked for help from Rachele, knowing that she had stocks on her. But Rachele met with him the night before and told him that she was unwilling to help him by parting with her life’s savings. Agostina tried twice to enter Marcello’s room and tell him about a love letter she had written for him, but the man managed to avoid her both times. Maria did go meet him with his midnight tea, and this was a pleasant meeting for the man for a change, as he was in love with her. Margherita had visited to tell her husband of something she had been planning for quite some time now—Margherita wanted to leave Marcello and had been preparing to do so by the end of the year. On the previous night, she had told him of her decision, apparently causing more stress for the man. Next came Veronica, who had a key to the house and Marcello’s room owing to the fact that she had always been his constant lover. But now, she asked for money from Marcello, telling him that she wants to go to Paris and will return his money later.
Susanna, who had apparently only come from Milan on this particular morning, had actually returned from Milan the previous night itself, for she wanted to tell her father of her pregnancy. She met him last, after all the previous meetings and asked for forgiveness and acceptance from her father. It seems that all these women had met Marcello for their own personal benefits and well-being. Even Susanna had similar intentions as she basically wanted her father to leave money for his grandchild in his will. Marcello had indeed been preparing a will, and he was probably all the more confused after this peculiar night. It was Caterina who played an instrumental role and helped her father ease his stress. The young woman had been hiding behind curtains and witnessed all of the meetings and understood how each of the women was trying to make use of Marcello. Taking this realization to her father, she helped the man prepare a unique plan. Marcello wanted to play dead and pretend that he had been murdered and then check how the women reacted to such a situation. This way, he believed, he would be able to understand who all genuinely loved him. He had made the two women he trusted the most at present part of this scheme—his daughter Caterina and his lover Maria. It was these two women who had then set the whole scene, cut off all communications, and also called Veronica onto the scene. At the end it is revealed that there was no murderer at all, for Marcello had not been killed and was very much alive in his room. This was the reason, Caterina explains, that she had locked up the room immediately after the discovery so that the father would not have to play dead for long.
‘7 Women And A Murder’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Marcello At The End?
Following all the confrontations and reactions that followed among the women after the discovery of the fake murder, Caterina is sure that the five have shown their true colors. Instead of grieving for the loss of the man from their lives, the women got busy with figuring out the murderer and finding out who would get Marcello’s property. With all the revelations and these moral evaluations made, it is time for Marcello to step out from his hiding. Caterina opens up his room, and the six others rush in, only to find it empty. The open terrace door makes it clear that the man must have gone there, but more twist follows when the seven women reach the terrace. Marcello seems to have either slipped or jumped off the terrace onto the ground, on which he now lays, motionless and dead. The women now finally inform the police, who arrive on the scene, and they report it as Marcello having committed suicide. Caterina, who does not protest such reporting, is now told by the rest of the women that she should always stick to helping women instead of working against them. She asks whether that should be the case even if a man asks her to work against women, and her mother reassuringly tells her that should indeed be the case.
If “7 Women and a Murder” is to be taken seriously, then the ending is perhaps confusing with mixed signals. Perhaps Marcello must have slipped and fallen to his death but having to report that to the police would also mean that everything else needed to be said. Instead, the women chose to say that the man had killed himself due to his recent financial struggles and move on with their lives. The patriarch was now dead, and there was no threat to any of the women’s lives either. All seven of the women could live together off his wealth and have no conflict among each other, as is suggested by them at the end. However, what exactly the film tries to say about this is unclear. At times it feels like a satire on women who survive on and yet complain about the men in their lives. If the film really intends to be about this, then it must be said that it is in the most pathetic taste. Also, at other times, it feels like the women realize that they do not really need a patriarch to set who they are and how they should act with each other, but the execution of this is such that even if the film’s intention is to say this, it makes the women’s characters appear rather petty.
“7 Women and a Murder” is a 2021 Drama Thriller directed by Alessandro Genovesi.