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Cousin Bette (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  12 June 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 2,030 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 18 critic

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 ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Cousin Bette (1998)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Janie Hargreaves ...
Gillian Martell ...


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. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Who knew deception, treachery and revenge could be this much fun...


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 June 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La prima Bette  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$76,488 (USA) (12 June 1998)


£44,082 (UK) (11 September 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Melanie Lynskey was considered for the role of Hortense Hulot. See more »


Vauvinet, the Moneylender: It's the not about the money, you understand...
Victorin Hulot: I understand.
Vauvinet, the Moneylender: ...It's the principle.
Victorin Hulot: I understand.
Vauvinet, the Moneylender: So if you don't repay us, we kill you, your wife and children and throw your bodies into the Seine.
Victorin Hulot: I understand.
See more »


Referenced in Showbiz Today: Episode dated 11 June 1998 (1998) See more »


The Tiger Song
Performed by Elisabeth Shue
Music and Lyrics by Danny Troob and Des McAnuff
Adapted from the music of Pierre de Beranger
Produced by Simon Boswell
See more »

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User Reviews

Take that!
6 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm not familiar with Balzac's novel, but I've read a ton of Romantic literature. And this is one of its classic variations (The virtuous are redeemed). I would never have selected this movie myself (friends did) but I enjoyed it. If I described this as Madame Iago, you'd have the entire plot. Nothing is quite so much fun as watching someone who's been disrespected revenging herself on a crowd, especially after how needlessly cruel they've been. Since the playing field will never roll the 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 of Lange, but she's adequate (while looking distressingly like Jim Carrey in 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 connected to Point B), and the lighting of every scene is too brazen. The accents are all over the place, which becomes very distracting.

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