Cinema: Wicked Fun

A smashing adaptation of Balzac's Cousin Bette

Bette is the country cousin those aristocratic ninnies the Hulots patronize, exploit and fatally underestimate. They think she's plain (the one aspect of this character that Jessica Lange can't quite convince us of), they know she's repressed, and they seem to feel she's not quite bright. What savage fun it is to see her wreak revenge on this superbly cast chateau of sublimely overconfident fools.

For by the end of this marvelously complex, wickedly comic adaptation of Honore de Balzac's schoolroom classic, she has brought them all to ruin--the philandering father (Hugh Laurie), the spoiled daughter (Kelly MacDonald), the clueless son...

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