Like countless misunderstood mistresses, the title character of "The Other Woman" didn't set out to wreck an already busted home. Nor did she shy away from her love for a married man.
Now, on the other side of the looking glass, she's ostracized by elementary-school mothers for being a "second wife" and for not conforming to the new-millennial, uptown Manhattan ideal of child-rearing. She's also grappling with capital-G grief over the death of a newborn, trying to forge a bond with her precocious stepson and struggling to save her marriage.
Casting a critical eye on certain female stereotypes while embracing others, this soapy drama manages to be both half-baked and overcooked. As stepmothers go, Emilia Greenleaf, the title character brought to vulnerable life by Natalie Portman, isn't evil but awkward and conflicted.
While she and her husband, Jack (Scott Cohen), tussle it out, the true love story concerns Emilia and her 8-year-old stepson, William (Charlie Tahan). A trying lad, he channels his controlling mother's values in the form of dietary restrictions, safety rules and character judgments and keeps jabbing at Emilia's pain over the unspeakable loss of her 3-day-old daughter.