Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jessica Lange, Elisabeth Shue, Bob Hoskins, Hugh Laurie, Aden Young, Kelly Macdonald, Toby Stephens, Jefferson Mays, Geraldine Chaplin, John Benfield, Paul Bandey, Laura Fraser, Janie Hargreaves, Gillian Martell, John Sessions
Written by: Lynn Siefert, Susan Tarr, based on a novel by Honoré de Balzac
Directed by: Des McAnuff
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality
Running Time: 108
Date: 06/11/1998

Cousin Bette (1998)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Having a Balzac

Jessica Lange gives perhaps the finest performance of her career in this lively costumer, Cousin Bette, which is the movie debut of Tony-Award winner Des McAnuff (Tommy, Big River). She plays an unmarried spinster who has received the shaft from her family, the Hulots, ever since she was born. She falls in love with a pretty-boy sculptor, who is promptly stolen from her by her younger cousin. So, much like Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons, she wreaks her wicked revenge, little by little on everyone. Cousin Bette moves fast, and keeps itself on its toes, while most period pieces are content to smother you with beautiful costumes and sets. Some interesting visual flourishes, and fine performances by Elizabeth Shue (sexy as a cabaret performer), Bob Hoskins, and others make the movie a keeper.

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