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Friday, February 13, 2015

Cousin Bette (1998)

In 1846 Paris, the impoverished cousin (Jessica Lange) of an aristocratic family is a spinster who works as a seamstress in the theater. She secretly harbors a passion for the poor artist (Aden Young) who lives above her room. When her young cousin (Kelly Macdonald) steals him from her, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and she plots the downfall of the family. Loosely based on the Balzac novel, I found it quite engaging although the mixture of both American and British actors all playing French seemed a bit jarring. An entirely British cast or American cast wouldn't have been a problem, it just seems that they're all not quite in the same movie. Elisabeth Shue (LEAVING LAS VEGAS) in particular comes across as very American. Lange is quite good as the "old maid" cousin even though try as they might, they can't disguise her good looks. It's amusing and while Balzac purists may object to the rather drastic changes from the novel, what director Des McAnuff has given us isn't bad at all. With Bob Hoskins, Geraldine Chaplin, Hugh Laurie, Toby Stephens, Simon McBurney, John Sessions and Toby Jones.

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