Cousin Bette

6.21 h 48 min1998R
Based on Honore de Balzac's timeless novel, Cousin Bette is a deliciously comic romp through the timeless territory of love and revenge, set in 1840s France.
Des Mcanuff
Geraldine ChaplinHugh LaurieJessica Lange
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Kelly MacdonaldElisabeth Shue
Sarah Radclyffe
20th Century Fox
R (Restricted)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

181 global ratings

  1. 73% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

DLGReviewed in the United States on May 1, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful lush settings, costumes and incredible acting - but the storyline had room for improvement
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I loved the beautiful settings, costumes and acting. It was definitely fabulous. However, the story is alittle convuluted and I did not enjoy the ending at all. If the ending had been more upbeat, i would have given it 5 stars. There were some odd thought patterns by the central character "Bette". I could not relate to her actions, her thinking. One minute she is very sharp and the next minute, she is dumb. Which is it? She mentors a young good looking artist (way younger than her) thinking that they will become lovers. She makes him sound so enticing when describing him to her very self centered niece and then is surprised when the niece pursues him and steals him from her. Duh? My second big issue is that is hoodwinks 200,000 francs from an investor (making her a very very wealthy woman) but stays with her brother-in- law as his caregiver. I find that weird especially since he treated her only as a housekeeper. This story would have been greatly improved if Bette was outsmarting people al the time and coming out on top.
One person found this helpful
KonaReviewed in the United States on October 24, 2008
2.0 out of 5 stars
A woman scorned
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Balzac's novel about jealousy and revenge is set in Paris, in 1846, and concerns Baron Hulot, his daughter, and his deceased wife's cousin, Bette. Bette was always the plain one, the dependable workhorse who lived in the shadow of her prettier, more favored cousin. A lowly theatre seamstress, Bette had hoped to marry the Baron, but now she's pining for the handsome young sculptor who lives in the apartment upstairs.

This movie could have been great with a little more effort; instead, it's soap opera stuff and not very good soap at that. Jessica Lange plays the homely spinster Bette and does a good job, but her American accent destroys any illusion that we are in France. Hugh Laurie ([[ASIN:B001A4VH2U House, M.D.]]) is very likeable as the snobbish and sensuous Baron; too bad he didn't try a French accent, either. Elizabeth Shue plays a singer who captures the hearts of both the Baron and the sculptor; she's really miscast with her Midwestern twang and off-putting crudeness.

The costumes and sets are lavish and the French locations are beautiful, but the script is too convoluted and it isn't sure if it's a comedy or drama. The whole thing lacks any semblance of class, so what should have been a classic is merely forgettable.
5 people found this helpful
S. HamblyReviewed in the United States on June 1, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Dark comedy
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One person found this helpful
Debra A. McReynoldsReviewed in the United States on June 24, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
Cousin Bette perfect revenge movie
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Cousin Bette with Jessica Lange is a great romance/comedy/drama movie for those who love the art of subtle revenge. Bette is the poor relation of a French family on the brink of losing everything. Of course, everyone relies on poor dear Cousin Bette to help them out of jams. Finally disgusted, Bette sets in motion the ultimate plan of revenge and betrayal, so subtle, her relations have no idea just how much hatred she really feels for them! The movie is based on a novel by Honore de Balzac and also stars Hugh Laurie of "House" fame as the love-smitten, totally useless patriarch. Also with Elisabeth Shue, Bob Hoskins.
3 people found this helpful
sefriendlyguyReviewed in the United States on September 28, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
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not the show i was expecting,
admittedly i got the movie because Elizabeth shue was in it!
M.A.Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
revenge is best served cold
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love this movie-what i'd like to do to some of my relations-hahahahahaha
2 people found this helpful
xm_cruiserReviewed in the United States on May 2, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant movie, but why not on Bluray?
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This is a very entertaining movie, shot a beautiful locations, with gorgeous costumes and brilliant actors. I can not understand why 20th Century Fox is not releasing this movie on Bluray. It is definitely worth it! Also I would like to have some extras on the Disk. I enjoyed this movie very much!
mam_gigiReviewed in the United States on June 27, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars
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Great movie! Very entertaining, more comedic and upbeat than the book.
One person found this helpful
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