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Susan Saint James,
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
"Cousin Bette" is a witty and deliciously mean-spirited black comedy. The operative term, however, is "mean-spirited," so this film is not for all tastes. Cousin Bette is victimized (at least in her own mind) by her selfish and unfeeling relatives. Based on a Balzac novel, the story follows Bette's attempts to find love and to get even with those she believes have wronged her. Things don't ever work out as Cousin Bette plans, but the lady proves she is adaptable. Jessica Lange, despite her beauty made me believe that she was an unattractive spinster. Bob Hoskins was, as always, excellent, as was Elizabeth Shue, who nearly stole the show. Good stuff. Recommended.
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