Death Becomes Her: The Fountain of Youth? (1992)

Posted: March 19, 2011 in Comedy, Fantasy

Madeline Ashton and Helen Sharp have always been rivals, but their competition goes beyond success. Madeline, currently married to Helen’s former lover, does not know that Ernest and Helen are conspiring to take her out and recover their former love. Before the deed, both women separately drink a potion considered to be the elixir of life. Mistakes happen which reveals to the trio that Madeline and Helen are now both immortal but also unable to recover from their injuries. Ernest applies his mortuary talents to restore both women to looking as close to living as possible. After his successful touchup, Ernest feels the pressure from the two women to maintain them for as long as he lives, which later evolves into an attempt to force him into the same potion. Now their lives are intertwined but Ernest will do anything to escape his former lovers.

Starring: Meryl Strep (Madeline Ashton), Goldie Hawn (Helen Sharp), Bruce Willis (Ernest Menville), Isabella Rossellini (Lisle Von Rhuman), Ian (Ogilvy (Chagall), Adam Storke (Dakota), Nancy Fish (Rose)

Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn team up to provide a great battle of strong female leads. Both women maintain a powerfully sophisticated charm that evolves into an insane obsession with vanity and youth. The slapstick fight scene breaks through their barriers to the primal rage of competition. Away from his traditionally action roles, Bruce Willis plays the nerdy mortician caught between two beautiful women. He allows himself to be controlled by his primitive lust for each woman but also is unable to defend himself against their controlling nature. Isabella Rossellini seduces the main trio and the audience in her lack of clothing and sultry voice. It is clear how she is able to manipulate each woman’s vanity to trick them into immortality but she falls short when she attempts to convince Ernest to live an existence with the two obsessed women.

Director Robert Zemeckis pulls together a strong group of actors but tackles an interesting concept at the same time. Youth is something that so many people chase, while in the process losing sight of the important elements of life. Madeline and Helen were caught up in their vanity too much to appreciate the love and attention Ernest provided. They also lost sight on the friendship they could have formed, and instead focused on the competition. In real life, we search for those things that keep us young. Some are truly focused on vanity, while others actually create some significant memories. If Madeline and Helen spent less time competing and using Ernest for their own needs, they could have focused on their careers and finding purpose in their lives.

This is a fun movie with some hilarious moments. The acting is a little over the top but it does not detract from enjoying the exploration of immortality.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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