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Masquerade
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Reviews & Ratings for
Masquerade More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Suspenseful and Sad.

10/10
Author: Carmen Vasquez (carmenl_2000@yahoo.com) from United States
30 September 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an excellent film if you love character acting, where the story centers just as much around the supporting characters as the main characters in the plot.The story centers around a young girl who becomes an heiress after the death of her mother, her only close relative. She meets & falls in love with a sailor with some very dark secrets. Their love affair upsets just about everyone they know, and when they look towards marriage everyone is opposed, mainly because they think he is only after her money-$300 million.The only person in the way of her inheritance and ruining her life, her step-father, is taken out of the picture, and that's when the truth begins to come to light. Rob Lowe is the sailor that Meg Tilly falls for. This is a very underrated film, and all the performances are excellent.The ending is sad, so don't say I didn't warn you. You might even need a box of tissues handy. Get ready for an interesting and thought-provoking film.I searched for this film for years before I found it in a video store, so you might have to do the same. Believe me, when I found it, it was well worth the wait.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

See if you can guess this great ending!

8/10
Author: bek-12 from Kentucky, USA
25 January 2000

I just read a review that said, basically, that this movie had too many questions. Don't get the wrong idea by reading reviews (even mine--we're all biased): this movie means to keep you guessing. Don't worry--it doesn't leave you confused at the end. It wraps everything up tidily, and ends in a believable fashion, but all through the movie, you never know who is really the bad guy. This is an intelligent, highly underrated movie. It's one of my favorites.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Everyone Wants Meg's Money

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
24 April 2009

Masquerade is a really good Hitchcockian type of thriller, a combination of Suspicion and The Heiress in which sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia DeHavilland brought aspects of Meg Tilly's character in their Oscar winning performances. It was shot on location in the ritzy Hamptons of Suffolk County, in fact the plot is about the haves and have nots of the area. And that's an area where the haves have PLENTY.

One of those haves is Meg Tilly heir to a $300,000.000.00 fortune. She's a nice kid who properly wonders whether the men who court like her for her or bank account.

She's got one leach of a stepfather in John Glover, a character you just love to hate. But by the terms of her mother's will she can't get rid of him until she's 21. And he's a guy who's used to a very high lifestyle.

Tilly's also got two men in her life. Local boy Doug Savant whose father works in the shipyard on the yachts of the rich and famous who has joined the town police force. He's been crushing out on her since he was a little kid. But the Hamptons do have their own caste system.

And then into her life comes Rob Lowe, the handsome and mysterious stranger who captains Brian Davies yacht and on the side kanoodles with his wife, Kim Cattrall. He puts the moves on Tilly and since its Rob Lowe, who could blame a girl.

Tilly's the innocent here, that's a constant, but as the story continues and several murders take place, she doesn't know who to trust. You won't know because the plot takes several twists and the motives of the persons in the cast change over the course of the film.

For those of you Rob Lowe fans of both genders you can have ample opportunity to see him in several stages of undress with Kim Cattrall and Meg Tilly. He's also got an interesting scene with Doug Savant who looks pretty good himself that takes on some homoerotic overtones. What beautiful children those two would have if possible.

The title Masquerade refers both to the name of the Tilly family yacht and the fact that except for Tilly, a lot of these characters are not as they appear on the surface. Masquerade is a really good thriller of a film, don't miss it when it is shown.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The twist is that there is no twist

7/10
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
29 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Masquerade" is a crime thriller set among the wealthy inhabitants of the Hamptons, a socially exclusive part of Long Island. The main character is Olivia Lawrence, a young heiress who has been left tremendously wealthy by the recent death of her mother. (Olivia's father has died several years earlier). Olivia forms a relationship with Tim Whalen, a yacht skipper, but this causes friction with her stepfather Tony Gateworth, who suspects that Tim is only interested in Olivia for her wealth. There may be something in his suspicions, as Tim is also carrying on with attractive older woman Brooke, his employer's wife. Gateworth's objections to Tim, however, seem hypocritical, as it is obvious that he only married Olivia's mother for her money and has lost no time since her death in moving his new mistress, Anne, into the family mansion.

The title is significant. "Masquerade" is the name of Olivia's yacht, but the word "masquerade", literally a masked ball, can also signify a charade or pretence, and several of the characters are pretending to be something they are not, pretences which are revealed in a series of twists. Tim and Gateworth seem to hate one another, but it is suddenly revealed that they are plotting together to murder Olivia for her money. During a confrontation between Gateworth, Tim and Olivia, however, Gateworth is killed when his pistol goes off during a struggle with Tim. Officer McGill, a local cop and former boyfriend of Olivia, is put in charge of the investigation into Gateworth's death.

There are no really outstanding acting performances in this film, but Meg Tilly makes a convincingly innocent Olivia, even though at 28 she was several years older than her character. Rob Lowe does enough to show that he was more than just a Brat Pack pretty-boy, even though he shows enough flesh to keep his most ardent female fans happy. (Tim is supposed to be older than Olivia, but in reality Lowe was four years younger than Tilly). There are certain similarities between this film and "Wild Things", a thriller from 1998, which also has a plot involving yachting and differences in social class. (That film, however, was set in Florida rather than Long Island). "Masquerade", however, is by far the better of the two films, and part of the reason, I think, lies in the way in which the thriller genre developed over the intervening ten years. Although the plot of "Masquerade" contains several twists (there are a couple more after those mentioned above), it always remains perfectly comprehensible. By 1998, however, there was a tendency (one which has continued into the twenty-first century) for the scriptwriters of films like these to demonstrate their cleverness by devising excessively complicated plots; that of "Wild Things" contains so many twists that it ends up twisted out of all recognition, and almost totally incomprehensible to the average viewer, even with the assistance of a series of flashbacks interspersed with the closing credits and intended to make good all the numerous plot holes in the actual movie.

Pauline Kael described "Masquerade" as a "tranquil and sophisticated thriller". "Tranquil" may seem an odd choice of adjective to describe a thriller, especially one in which several characters meet violent deaths, yet I know what she meant. "Masquerade" lacks not only the silly-cleverness that mars films like "Wild Things", it also lacks the cynical amorality that is their stock-in-trade. Towards the end I was waiting for some truly devastating silly-clever twist, like Olivia 's mother and Gateworth both coming back from the dead, or Olivia turning out to have planned the whole thing with her lesbian lover Brooke. Yet nothing like this happens. The twist is that there is no twist. There is no assumption that an obviously innocent person must be guilty; Olivia turns out to be just as sweet and naïve as she has always seemed. Moreover, Tim, whatever his original motives may have been, turns out to have genuinely fallen in love with her and selflessly sacrifices his own life while saving hers. It comes as quite a surprise to come across a thriller that does not take a completely cynical view of human nature. 7/10

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Nice little Hamptons thriller

7/10
Author: n_r_koch from Washington DC
3 July 2009

I liked it. Setting and script are interesting, though not always especially original-- some of the plot twists seem to be thrown in because the story starts to lag. There is one fairly steamy sex scene between Lowe and Tilly, from the days when audiences liked sex scenes that didn't look like rape scenes.

As in so many films since the 1960s, the acting is so technically skilled and low-key it can fool an audience into thinking it's not acting at all...until they see the same actors playing totally different roles in other movies. Tilly is just superb; you don't see her at all, you just see the shy heiress. Even pretty-boy Lowe is believable in an absurd role that must have been hard to play (among other things, in his opening love scene, he hides the family jewels behind a door with a slick little move). Cattrall, in a small part, is excellent-- her sloppy character just seems to have turned up. And Glover (with messed-up Caesar hairdo) is his usual effectively spooky self as the villain. Delaney doesn't have a lot to do but she's loose and convincing whenever she's on.

You can tell this one was written for the screen by the name the writer chose for the heiress: "Olivia Lawrence".

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Haunts Of The Very Rich

Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
7 July 2009

The film gets its title from the name of a yacht owned by a wealthy heiress, an attractive young woman just out of school, named Olivia (Meg Tilly). Olivia is a tad starry-eyed, wistful, and overly trusting. She owns eight houses and lives in the Hamptons, on Long Island. "Masquerade" is her story, and it involves romance, betrayal, and death.

Into Olivia's life comes a good-looking, but not wealthy, skipper of a racing boat, a young man named Tim (Rob Lowe). Olivia falls in love with Tim. But is Tim really in love with her, or just after her money?

The film's setup is both slightly misleading and a little slow to develop. But a major plot point at the end of the first Act perks up interest. And from here, "Masquerade" becomes a generally enjoyable thriller, until near the end. The plot climax does seem contrived. A simple phone call could have achieved one character's desired result. Instead, that character takes matters into his or her own hands. The result is an unnecessarily dramatic outcome.

The casting of Meg Tilly is perfect for the role of Olivia. Everyone else in the cast is at least adequate.

Color cinematography in outdoor scenes is quite good, especially those scenes filmed on the open waters off the coast of Long Island. Indoor sets are okay. Background music is boringly nondescript.

My only major complaint pertains to the film's dated thematic style. Many scenes in "Masquerade" show lush mansions, manicured lawns, expensive sports cars, and haughty parties where women wear expensive gowns and dance with wealthy men to the ballroom music of a live orchestra. All of which is well executed. But some of these visuals are awfully reminiscent of other 1980s productions like "Dallas" and "Dynasty", which make "Masquerade" look stuck in the 1980s.

This film offers entertainment in the form of interesting characters, more than one of whom "masquerade" as something they're not, and a twisty, betrayal driven plot that leads to an outcome that the viewer probably will not be able to predict.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of my all-time favorites

10/10
Author: Wes Peters from San Diego
19 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie has it all, mystery, suspense, beautiful women, fast cars, and most especially great sailing and beautiful boats. I first saw this movie shortly before moving to New England, where I spent a year scouring the coast for a rich woman who needed a live-in yacht captain and 'kept man.' Every male my age wanted to be Rob Lowe; I specifically wanted to be Rob Lowe in this movie.

This plot has more twists than a mountain highway. The more we get to know the people of this little beachfront town, the more we see the legacy of the Salem witch trials. The tension between the ultra-rich haves and the town full of have nots is portrayed as well as I have ever seen; the transient nature of the rich who come for 'the season' and then return to Manhattan versus the people who live and work in the town all their lives, watching the rich come and go with their beautiful homes, expensive cars, and meaningless parties.

Mild spoiler: It's a genuine pleasure to find one tiny pearl of redemption in this movie filled with unredeemable characters.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Effective Scenes Mixed With Chaotic Plot.

6/10
Author: jehaccess6 from United States
3 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I liked a lot of this film. The yachting scenes and the wonderful score by John Barry really added to the film. Sometimes I seemed to be watching 'Thunderball', the score of 'Masquerade' was so obviously from the same composer.

I really liked Meg Tilly, whom I had never heard of before this film. She was the perfect choice for the role of Olivia, the less-than-stunning heiress swept away by the gorgeous sailor Tim ( Rob Lowe). I never realized Meg is 4 years older than Rob until I consulted their entries in the IMDb. Here she plays a naive heiress several years younger than her love interest very convincingly.

The film alludes to the death of Olivia's mother in an explosion on her yacht. Since this death would greatly benefit Gateworth, he likely had a hand in it. Cop Mike mentions how many propane explosions occur each year, so this hints that he engineered this 'accident'. However this point is never cleared up in the film.

Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly really had chemistry together. Olivia had sort of drifted through her life in a fog because facing reality was too painful. Tim really cut through her defenses and awakened her to the joys of true love. Olivia immediately became pregnant and was overjoyed to have a child with her new love. Olivia's life became a joy instead of a long nightmare.

What kept getting in the way was the idiotic plot. Apparently the cop Mike had worked the sailboat racing circuit before joining the police force in Hampton Shores. He met Tim and Olivia's stepfather Gateworth and hatched a scheme to murder Olivia and loot her estate.

I could never figure out where the two outsiders expected to share in the loot from the estate. If Olivia died childless and unmarried, Gateworth stood to inherit the entire estate as the sole surviving heir. Why was accomplice Tim supposed to marry Olivia and muddy the chances of inheriting the estate? If Gateworth did in fact inherit the whole estate, why would he have shared the proceeds with his two accomplices? If these two suddenly became rich after the estate was settled, it would increase suspicion of foul play. Gateworth would already be under suspicion as the person to profit most from the untimely death of Olivia.

The cop Mike should have deduced that he would wind up dead after contributing to the death of Olivia. His knowledge of the circumstances of Olivia's death would always be a threat to Gateworth. Tim would also be a threat to the continued enjoyment of Gateworth's new riches. After the marriage of Tim and Olivia and the death of Gateworth, Mike would have no claim on the estate. He would have to blackmail Tim with planted evidence that Tim had murdered Gateworth's girlfriend to shut her up. If evidence of Tim's guilt suddenly appeared long after the girlfriend's death, questions about why evidence had been withheld would arise.

Tim's mistress Brooke Morrison, wife of his employer, was blackmailed into providing an alibi for Tim when Gateworth wound up dead in Olivia's bedroom. Brooke testified to the police that Tim had been in her bed when Gateworth was shot in Olivia's bedroom. The film fails to consider the problem Tim would have appearing in Brooke's bedroom fresh from his recent love scene with Olivia. To put it delicately, Brooke's nose would have to be numb not to detect the scents of recent lovemaking on her boy-toy Tim.

Strangely Brooke's husband never found out what his wife had been up to or else didn't care. He continued to employ Tim on his racing boat and sought his services in future racing events.

The film finale killed off almost everyone to tie off the plot threads. I could never understand how rogue cop Mike could hope to murder Olivia right under the nose of the Chief Of Police and escape the consequences.

It seemed that the writers ran out of ideas on how to write the climax. I suppose the viewer was supposed to just be swept along with the flow and not think too hard about the logic of the plot.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not too many saw this one, but...

Author: swatwat from NJ, USA
23 August 2001

This is one of those movies that I'm glad I saw when it first came out. I remember that the theater was almost empty, but when I was leaving I heard people saying things like, "I never expected to like it that much". Rob Lowe gained credibility as an actor in my eyes with this film(and with another film called Bad Influence).

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Labyrinthine plot, slightly smutty.

6/10
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
25 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Money, mayhem, and sex. How can you go wrong? Meg Tilly, unglamorized, is a naive teen-aged graduate of a Catholic school. She makes her other-worldly way back to her REALLY dysfunctional, rambling mansion in Easthampton, where her villainous stepfather (John Glover, hammy but great!) is staggering around, usually three sheets to the wind, and entertaining his girl friend, Dana Delaney (Miss Briscoe, Lenny's sister-in-law). The script has given Tilly's mother the deep six before the movie starts.

Also present, the multi-talented Rob Lowe who, were he any worse an actor, could sink this vessel faster than a horde of mutant torpedo worms. As it is, he's a "superb captain", as someone calls him. His job seems to be skippering the racing sloops of very rich people so skillfully that they beat the racing sloops of other very rich people.

Lowe has assignations with the slutty Kim Cattrall, somebody else's wife. Very racy dialog. Lowe gives Cattrall a birthday present, a pair of skimpy black panties. Cattrall: "You want me to wear these?" Lowe: "I can't bite them off you if you don't." Avast there. Here comes a spoiler that may take the wind out of your sails. Lowe is not what he seems. Actually, he's in cahoots with Tilly's step-father and the town cop. The three of them decide that Meg Tilly's several hundreds of millions of dollars is too burdensome for one young woman, so they are going to have Lowe seduce her, marry her, and eliminate her -- in that order -- so that they can split up her assets three ways.

The plan goes awry. Lowe begins to feel affectionate towards Tilly, especially after they are as married as matched pelican hooks and she becomes pregnant. He shoots and kills Glover. Dana Delaney, Glover's squeeze, gets suspicious and is found hanging by a belt. The corrupt cop notices these little incidents and tries to blow up Tilly by tinkering with the gas line aboard her sloop, the Obsession. In a frantic attempt to save Tilly, Lowe is hoist by the cop's petard. In the cop's office, Tilly comes to grasp nature of the plan by an act of spiritually inspired intuition, just from glimpsing a photo of the three conspirators pinned to the cop's wall. (An old snapshot of three smiling men holding up a fish, and she twigs.) The cop attacks her with a lug wrench or a marlinspike or something and tries to stove in her head. And he's a big, burly guy too. But those nuns turn out tough little babes and he can't do more than rip her shirt a bit before she propels him through the window to his death below.

John Williams' lush score practically swoons at the end as Tilly stands bravely alone, knowing that Lowe, though now in Davey Jones' locker, REALLY loved her. This ending prompts a question, though. She now has all those millions and that huge beachfront mansion to herself now, doesn't she? So what is her phone number? Not much acting is really required in a piece like this. But John Glover is sublime as the villain. He always is. Rob Lowe, blandly handsome, like a department store mannequin, should be relieved of his watch and sent below. Meg Tilly is more complicated. She has a voice that's at once diminutive and husky. She seems to have been given a minimum of makeup, so her blemishes and pimples show on her pale face and shoulders. And that haircut! Blackbeard the Pirate looked more glamorous, even with the smoking gunpowder fuzes tied in his tresses. I suppose many eyes seem to tilt from inner canthus upward, but Tilly's are alarming. Kim Cattrall is a snoot but has some of the best lines. "While you were plugging your stepfather, your husband was plugging me -- and he was great!" Well, it's not really a dirty movie though. Two scenes of Cattrall topless and one of simulated sex between Lowe and Tilly. Oh, and a shot of Lowe's buns, which reminded me that on a ship you should always spit to leeward.

There's another thing. I don't know if I should bother mentioning it because I'm not sure it's there, although there's a place for it in the plot. Still, I want to stay in the channel here. Red, right, returning, y'know. There's a bit of a homoerotic element in the relationship between Lowe and the conspiratorial cop. Lowe visits the cop at home. The cop is in bed and gets out to have a serious engagement with Lowe. He's all muscles, his head included, and he's wearing only a pair of skivvies, and when he threatens Lowe, he thrusts his face almost against Lowe's, takes Lowe's cheeks and squeezes them together so that Lowe's lips are pursed, and I'm thinking two more inches and this is a gay scene.

This romantic thriller isn't for everyone's tastes, I would guess, but I kind of enjoyed it, partly because I like the Hamptons and spent a lot of summers there as a youth. Well -- Sag Harbor, actually, in the modest house of some friends, acquired years before the area became uninhabitable for anyone except cosmetic surgeons, when the community was so compact and unprepossesing that, in a sandy wood just past the edge of town, you could sit and watch the foxes stare back at you, sometimes scratching their pointed black ears with their tiny and precise black paws. Red foxes. Auburn foxes. Unquestionably extinguished by development. Now we have this movie about people fighting over hundreds of millions of dollars, none of whom has had a selfless thought in their entire lives.

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