An aging actress and her longtime rival both take
a potion for eternal life, with devastating results.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Written by Martin Donovan and David Koepp
Starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis,
Isabella Rossellini, Ian Ogilvy, Nancy Fish
Oscar Wins - Best Visual Effects
Death Becomes Her is a bizarrely delightful film with a solid cast that wonderfully shows the vapidity of aging film stars. For some reason I've yet to figure out, I always enjoyed this movie since I was a child, which is kind of weird. It's strange to see Meryl Streep playing a bad actress and it's even weirder to see Bruce Willis not phoning in his performance. With a story that gets stranger and stranger with each viewing, Death Becomes Her is an enjoyable film that shows the consequences of jealousy and vanity.
Meet Madeline Ashton (Streep), a terrible actress obsessed with her dwindling youth and desperate to get it back. Her longtime rivalry with her best friend/worst enemy Helen Sharp (Hawn) contributes greatly to Madeline's desperation. When she is given a potion for eternal life, she is amazed to see that she has de-aged by twenty years. But when she pushes her depressed husband, Dr. Ernest Menville (Willis), too far one day, he pushes her down the stairs and kills her. But Madeline wakes up, eternally alive but now a slowly rotting corpse. It's such a strange movie, and it gets even stranger when Helen gets shot and goes through the same process. It's one of Zemeckis's most underappreciated works.
Death Becomes Her is definitely a cult favorite and it's been one of mine for as long as I can remember. It's got this sort of Burtonesque style to it, but with Zemeckis's talented eye for characters and story. All three leads are fantastic and out of their respective comfort zones, making this an eccentric but charming underrated black comedy.