Reviewed bygbheronVote: 8/10/10
The plot is complicated, too much so to describe in 1,000 words. Let's justsay Cousin Bette is a tale of familial revenge set in 1840s Paris. CousinBette is the spinster aunt of a large wealthy family in the throes ofloosing it all; money, dignity and respect. As they struggle, Bette (Lange)weaves her plots, many of which go astray working unintended consequences.This is a delightful black comedy that I liked very much, more so than mostreviewers and commentators. If you have a predilection for this kind ofmovie, jump right in.
Reviewed bygws-2Vote: 7/10/10
"Cousin Bette" is a witty and deliciously mean-spirited black comedy. Theoperative term, however, is "mean-spirited," so this film is not for alltastes. Cousin Bette is victimized (at least in her own mind) by herselfish and unfeeling relatives. Based on a Balzac novel, the story followsBette's attempts to find love and to get even with those she believes havewronged her. Things don't ever work out as Cousin Bette plans, but the ladyproves she is adaptable. Jessica Lange, despite her beauty made me believethat she was an unattractive spinster. Bob Hoskins was, as always,excellent, as was Elizabeth Shue, who nearly stole the show. Good stuff. Recommended.
Reviewed byT YVote: 7/10/10
I'm not familiar with Balzac's novel, but I've read a ton of Romanticliterature. And this is one of its classic variations (The virtuous areredeemed). I would never have selected this movie myself (friends did)but I enjoyed it. If I described this as Madame Iago, you'd have theentire plot. Nothing is quite so much fun as watching someone who'sbeen disrespected revenging herself on a crowd, especially after howneedlessly cruel they've been. Since the playing field will never rollthe arrangement back in Bette's favor, why not just destroy everyone?It's like a bomb went off when she's done. I am in no way a fan ofLange, but she's adequate (while looking distressingly like Jim Carreyin drag).
On the minus side, the lead-up to the 1848 Revolution is trivialized.The writing is extremely weak (Point A is always too overtly connectedto Point B), and the lighting of every scene is too brazen. The accentsare all over the place, which becomes very distracting.
Cousin Bette is a poor and lonely seamstress, who, after the death of her prominent and wealthy sister, tries to ingratiate herself into lives of her brother-in-law, Baron Hulot, and her niece, Hortense Hulot. Failing to do so, she instead finds solace and company in a handsome young sculptor she saves from starvation. But the aspiring artist soon finds love in the arms of another woman, Hortense, leaving Bette a bitter spinster. Bette plots to take revenge on the family who turned her away and stole her only love. With the help of famed courtesan Jenny Cadine she slowly destroys the lives of those who have scorned her.