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 »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bonneville (2006)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Three women take a road trip to Santa Barbara in order to deliver the ashes of one of their dead husbands to his resentful daughter.

Director: Christopher N. Rowley
Stars: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Three sisters with quite different personalities and lives reunite when the youngest of them, Babe, has just shot her husband. The oldest sister, Lenny, takes care of their grandfather and ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Louisiana football legend struggles to deal with life's complexities after his college career is over.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid, Timothy Hutton
Country (1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Gilbert Ivy and his wife Jewell are farmers. They seem to be working against the odds, producing no financial surplus. Gilbert has lost hope of ever becoming prosperous, but his wife ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Pearce
Stars: Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, Wilford Brimley
Normal (TV Movie 2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Midwestern husband and father announces his plan to have a sex change operation.

Director: Jane Anderson
Stars: Richard Bull, Mary Seibel, Danny Goldring
Music Box (1989)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A lawyer defends her father accused of war crimes, but there is more to the case than she suspects.

Director: Costa-Gavras
Stars: Jessica Lange, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Frederic Forrest
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

"King Lear" set on a farm in Iowa.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Sweet Dreams (1985)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jessica Lange stunningly portrays Patsy Cline, the velvet-voiced country music singer who died in a tragic plane crash at the height of her fame.

Director: Karel Reisz
Stars: Jessica Lange, Ed Harris, Ann Wedgeworth
Blue Sky (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Jessica Lange stars in a period drama about a family moving to a military base, and she quickly becomes part of a cover-up involving nuclear bomb tests.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Jessica Lange, Tommy Lee Jones, Powers Boothe
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (TV Movie 1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An alcoholic and femme fatale face troubles before a family reunion.

Director: Jack Hofsiss
Stars: Jessica Lange, Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn
O Pioneers! (TV Movie 1992)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Alexandra Bergson (Jessica Lange) inherits the family farm and struggles to carve a home and a fortune from the windswept prairie. Along the way, she forfeits her one chance for love, but ... See full summary »

Director: Glenn Jordan
Stars: Jessica Lange, David Strathairn, Tom Aldredge
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The story about a cheating and incompetent lawyer (Harry Fabian) who suddenly gets obsessed on becoming a boxing promoter.

Director: Irwin Winkler
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange, Cliff Gorman
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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 <CherylC894@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

12 June 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La prima Bette  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

£44,082 (UK) (11 September 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

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.
[pause]
Victorin Hulot: I understand.
See more »

Connections

Version of La cousine Bette (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

Can Can
Adapted by Danny Troob
From the music by Pierre de Beranger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A near perfect film. Indulge in revenge without the guilt!
30 December 1998 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that lets one revel in emotions that are generally frowned upon in genteel society. Revenge is one such emotion, and the very black comedy Cousin Bette deals it out in generous portions.

Bette (Jessica Lange) has always lived in the shadow of her more beautiful sister, Adeline. Adeline was always prepared for marriage and society, while Bette became a virtual servant for her family. To make matters worse, Adeline marries the one man Bette loves, the Baron Hulot. The film opens with Adeline on her death bed, listening to the confessions of her adulterous husband and spendthrift son. She makes Bette promise to take care of her family. The malicious grin on Bette's face lets us know what is coming. Bette orchestrates her revenge on each member of the family, with a cunning her family never suspected.

Part of what makes this film so delicious is that none of the characters are really very likeable, but they are all very interesting and well drawn. Even Bette is not someone you would want to welcome into your own family (although she'd make a fascinating guest at a dinner party). The only character who fares even mildly well is Cesar Crevel (Bob Hoskins). A merchant who has become the wealthiest man in Paris, he is attempting to buy his way to respectability. He is at least without pretense, even going so far as to offer 200,000 francs to see Hortense Hulot (the Baron's daughter, played by Kelly MacDonald) naked.

The story follows Bette's attempts to destroy the Baron and his family by manipulating them in their love affairs. The marriage of Hortense is expected to save the family financially, hence the appearance of Crevel. But Hortense loves the penniless Count Wenceslas Steinbach (Aden Young), a sculptor. Meanwhile the Baron has been borrowing from everyone in Paris to keep his mistress, Jenny Cadine. Bette controls all of the characters like a Grand Master.

The backdrop to the film is the decay of the French aristocratic society. Resting on the laurels of the Empire of Napoleon, oblivious to the coming revolution (the film begins in 1846), and in complete denial of the changes around them, we actually cheer for Bette as she systematically destroys the Hulot family. In a way it's the revolution carried out from within, making the fall all the more sweet.

This film is really exceptional. My only criticisms would be that (1) Elisabeth Shue as the famous actress/courtesan Jenny Cadine is merely adequate, (2) it is almost impossible to imagine the stunning Jessica Lange as the "plain" sister, and (3) the characters' accents tend to vary from time to time. The script is intelligent, clever, and realistic. The acting is very strong all around, especially by Lange. Hoskins is terrific, hitting just the right note of a materialistic man trying to be a nobleman, but not quite getting it. The locations and sets are lush and as decadent as one would expect. The direction of Des McAnuff is crisp and assured, the pace even and well controlled.


10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Underrated? DeMarkov
Does Anyone Know... pennyjaeger-1
The statue by Wenceslas hhawkins-74227
Discuss Cousin Bette (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page