The film is set in the 1950s in a large country residence. As the family comprised of mostly women prepares for Christmas, the 'master' of the house is discovered dead in his bed, with a dagger stuck in his back. The murderer must be one of the eight women in the house at the time, and in the course of the investigations, each has a tale to tell and so many secrets to hide.
The scene opens with Suzon returning from school for Christmas break, finding her mother Gaby, her younger sister Catherine, and her wheelchair-bound grandmother Mamy in the living room, where most of the action of the film takes place. Gaby eventually tells Catherine to go wake up her father Marcel, which is when she finds that her father's been stabbed to death. Attempting to call the authorities, they find that the phone is disconnected, and soon come to the realization that the murderer is either of them As the women begin to question and prod at each other, many secrets come to light: that Louise slept with Marcel, that Chanel loves Pierrette, that Suzon is pregnant, that Suzon is not Marcel's daughter, which is just as well since she is pregnant with his child, that Gaby was about to leave with Marcel's business associate and that Mamy had poisoned her husband a long time ago. The plot concludes with Catherine revealing that Marcel is not dead and that she had plotted everything in order to show her father the truth about "his women". As she opens the door to his bedroom, he shoots himself in the head.
For a movie boasting of an all-female cast, the movie is an astonishingly anti-feminist film. Starting with the fact that all 8 female characters are built around a man, Marcel. Throughout the film, we are given the impression that one of them killed Marcel, only later to discover that he was never dead. All these women are both appealing and appalling, it is clear that they are each willing to do whatever it takes for money, love, revenge, and this is in fact what really kills Marcel. The movie is filled with songs with themes of disappointed love, loneliness, and yearning. To me, these songs seem to be each of the women's victimizing, self-justification for their appalling actions. What I find most concerning is Mamy's crime (she poisoned and killed her husband) and Suzon's confession (she is pregnant with her 'father's' child). The movie, instead of presenting these very private secrets as serious and appalling claims, turns the death of Marcel into a joke. The whole movie, to me, seems as though it is a criticization of females and their relationships with males, and yet somehow, it seems absurd for me to criticize it for this appalling view as it is supposed to be a satirical comedy.
While I do appreciate this very obvious comedy, I cannot help but find that the movie happened to be a humorous crossover between sexual decadence and violence. Though this film is veiled within the guise of being feminist, it somehow manages to completely demonize each of the female characters. What stands out to me the most is the way in which each female character is so under-represented and villainized. Don't get me wrong though, this movie is worth a watch, the depth of the dialogues, the vibrancy of the characters, the songs, all come together to paint a wonderful yet slightly peculiar picture of French culture.