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Death Becomes Her (1992)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror | 31 July 1992 (USA)
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2:10 | Trailer
When a woman learns of an immortality treatment, she sees it as a way to outdo her long-time rival.

Director:

Robert Zemeckis
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Popularity
1,720 ( 364)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Madeline Ashton
Bruce Willis ... Ernest Menville
Goldie Hawn ... Helen Sharp
Isabella Rossellini ... Lisle Von Rhuman
Ian Ogilvy ... Chagall
Adam Storke ... Dakota
Nancy Fish ... Rose
Alaina Reed-Hall ... Psychologist (as Alaina Reed Hall)
Michelle Johnson ... Anna
Mary Ellen Trainor ... Vivian Adams
William Frankfather ... Mr. Franklin
John Ingle ... Eulogist
Clement von Franckenstein ... Opening Man
Petrea Burchard ... Opening Woman
Jim Jansen ... Second Man
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some people will go to any lengths to stay young forever. But Madeline Ashton and her old friend Helen Sharp are about to go TOO far. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some nudity and off-color humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La muerte le sienta bien See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,110,355, 2 August 1992

Gross USA:

$58,422,650

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$149,022,650
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a UK television interview, Meryl Streep was asked about this uncharacteristic role, and she replied that it was too original to pass up. See more »

Goofs

Helen has had a hole blown through her stomach by the time the "shovel fight" has begun. As Ernest leaves the scene, you see the shadows of the women fighting, only now the hole is in Madeleine's shadow, not Helen's. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Opening Man: [leaving the theatre in the rain] Can you believe that? A musical version of "Sweet Bird of Youth."Who are they kidding?
Opening Woman: Thank God you wanted to leave...
Second Woman: Can you believe Madeline Ashton? Talk about waking the dead.
Second Man: I gotta get a drink...
[zoom in on discarded playbill featuring Madeline Ashton]
See more »

Connections

References Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Goofy Madness
19 November 2003 | by Smells_Like_CheeseSee all my reviews

Classic 90's time, this is one of those movies that I kind of remember seeing on TV five million times as a kid. I always loved watching it, it had the most incredible effects and I thought it was so funny. I was such a deranged 7 year old I guess. But still to this day, I really enjoy watching Death Becomes Her. It has a very clever story, amazing effects and three great actors: Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. Who said dark comedies can't be good? Death Becomes her shows the true competitive side of women that scares most of the human race, how far we will go to be the hottest, the smartest, the kindest, etc. But also the whole essence of eternal youth, beauty and living forever, and Death Becomes Her handles the subject very well.

Actress Madeline Ashton and writer Helen Sharp are longtime rivals. Helen's life falls apart when glamorous Madeline steals Helen's fiancé, plastic surgeon Ernest Menville, and marries him. Seven years later, Helen is now an obese, depressed woman, and is arrested and placed in a mental institution. Obsessed with getting revenge against Madeline, she struggles in the institution with healing. Madeline's career on Broadway ends, and 14 years later she is still struggling with her fading looks and bygone acting career. Ernest, now an alcoholic and miserable in his marriage, has been reduced to working as a high-end mortician. When Madeline and Helen meet again at Helen's book-signing party, Helen appears miraculously rejuvenated, thin, and youthful. Madeline is first dumbfounded then jealous. As part of Helen's plan, she plays both Madeline and Ernest, telling them each she has never blamed them for her ruined love life. Madeline resorts to the aid of the mysterious Lisle Von Rhoman, who claims she has discovered the secret of eternal youth. Madeline purchases the potion, drinks it, and is delighted to see her body visibly losing the signs of aging as she watches in a mirror, leaving her thin, firm, and young. Helen, meanwhile, seduces Ernest and reveals to him a detailed and foolproof plot to kill Madeline. Ernest kills Madeline, Madeline is still alive… Madeline kills Helen… Helen is still alive… death has become them.

The film is flawed no doubt, it should have developed the characters a bit more, we never really understood why Madeline and Helen were friends in the first place as it seems like they've always hated each other, they could have just explored the friendship a little further. As well as why we should care what is happening to these pretty horrible characters. But still this is one of those films that for some reason keeps me watching it every time it pops up on TV. I think it was a lot of fun and had some good laughs, especially the fight between Madeline and Helen, they discover that there's really no point to inflicting physical pain but keep going at it with each other. This is a recommendation to those who have a strange sense of humor, it's something only a few will get.

7/10


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