After a single, career-minded woman is left on her own to give birth to the child of a married man, she finds a new romantic chance in a cab driver. Meanwhile, the point-of-view of the newborn boy is narrated through voice-over.
In 1978, in Broadway, the decadent and narcissist actress Madeline Ashton is performing Songbird, based on Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth. Then she receives her rival Helen Sharp, who is an aspiring writer, and her fiancé Ernest Menville, who is a plastic surgeon, in her dressing-room. Soon Menville calls off his commitment with Helen and marries Madeline. Seven years later, Helen is obese in a psychiatric hospital and obsessed in seeking revenge on Madeline. In 1992, the marriage of Madeline and Menville is finished and he is no longer a surgeon but an alcoholic caretaker. Out of the blue, they are invited to a party where Helen will release her novel Forever Young and Madeline goes to a beauty shop. The owner gives a business card of the specialist in rejuvenation Lisle Von Rhuman to her. When the envious Madeline sees Helen thin in a perfect shape, she decides to seek out Lisle and buys a potion to become young again. Further, she advises that Madeline must take care of ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A pneumatic bra was built to create the effect where Meryl Streep's breasts become higher and firmer after drinking the potion, but the effect didn't look realistic enough. In order to get the shot, Streep's dresser stood behind her, out of sight of the camera, and pushed her breasts into position. See more »
Lisle (the first name of the von Rhuman character) is supposed to be the German-Austrian shortened nick-name version of Elisabeth. It is mispelled in the credits and should be: Liesl, as in the character from The Sound of Music. See more »
[leaving the theatre in the rain]
Can you believe that? A musical version of "Sweet Bird of Youth."Who are they kidding?
Thank God you wanted to leave...
Can you believe Madeline Ashton? Talk about waking the dead.
I gotta get a drink...
[zoom in on discarded playbill featuring Madeline Ashton]
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I never saw "Death Becomes Her" when it first come out because of a review I had read somewhere. The review was dismissive and made a lot of sense, so I decided to give it a miss. What a terrible mistake! This is a movie I would love to see on a big screen. The script is so brilliantly clever. Disguised as a silly comedy there is a world of serious themes executed by a knowing cast. Meryl Streep in particular, playing convincingly an actress without talent. I remember the bad review criticized the writers for setting the story in a rainy, stormy Los Angeles when California was going through a drought. Imagine if a comedy about magic potions should worry about the accuracy of the weather. In fact the Los Angeles of "Death Becomes Her" feels more like Los Angelers than most realistic movies and it does it with nerve and wit. "In 12 years in Los Angeles have you ever seen a neighbor?" screams Meryl to his mousy Bruce. An absolute delight. Other hidden treasures are a cameo from Sidney Pollack and a very funny and very sexy "76 years old" Isabella Rossellini. A new cult classic and a total must.
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