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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
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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