Troy Patterson
December 18, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Cousin Bette

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
Wide Release Date
06/12/98
performer
Jessica Lange, Elisabeth Shue, Aden Young, Hugh Laurie
director
Des McAnuff
distributor
Fox Home Video
genre
Comedy, Drama
We gave it a B-

Director Des McAnuff slices Honoré de Balzac’s satirical novel Cousin Bette into a film at once craftily dense and maddeningly lightweight — half revenge drama, half burlesque farce, all semi-coherent. Jessica Lange’s Bette — provincial cousin of a Parisian baron and seamstress to his courtesan, Elisabeth Shue — nurses a crush on a starving sculptor and crushes the baron’s daughter after she poaches her boy. But the quick stream of twists never quite pool into a plot. B-

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