When the successful businessman Marcel (Dominique Lamure) is found apparently murdered one morning in his large house, the eight women closest to him are all potential suspects, each with at least one valid motive: was it his wife Gaby (Catherine Deneuve), his daughters Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen) or Catherine (Ludivine Sagnier), his mother-in-law Mamy (Danielle Darrieux), his sister-in-law Augustine (Isabelle Huppert), his sister Pierette (Fanny Ardent), the cook Chanel (Firmine Richard) or the maid Louise (Emmanuelle Beart)? As the house is isolated in a snowstorm with the phone down, the women are forced to confront each other and themselves.
The time; the 50s. The setting; a country house. The man of the house has been stabbed to death in his bed. Whodunit? His wife (Catherine Deneuve), who might have been leaving him for another man? His mother-in-law (Danielle Darrieux), an apparently crippled grande dame? His daughters (Virginie Ledoyen and Ludivine Sagnier)? His sister, (Fanny Ardant), a woman with a Past? His sister-in-law (Isabelle Huppert), an old maid? One of the servants (Emmanuelle Beart), who seems to have known him intimately? Anyone could have done it, and they all have a story to tell – and they all have a song to sing, too.
You can practically see the proscenium arch in Francois Ozon's wonderfully stagey adaptation of a play by Robert Thomas. It's a celebration of three generation of French actresses, and if Isabelle Huppert steals the show as the plain jane, she's just the best of a formidable bunch. From the elegant opening credits onwards, the film's a delight – the songs are great fun, and it's a nice touch that at one point there's a prominently displayed photo of an actress who might have been one of the women – the late Romy Schneider.