Dark, hilarious and entertaining, 1992's DEATH BECOMES HER is a razor sharp satire of our celebrity culture & obsession with youth, doused with terrific special effects.
Robert Zemeckis has always pushed the edge of what movies can deliver visually, and he was at the forefront of digital effects when this hit theatres.
Meryl Streep stars as fading mega-star Madeline Ashton. Her current Broadway musical is flopping and she's terrified of aging, spending more time studying the mirror than her lines.
After opening night, she meets her life-long rival backstage, writer Helen Sharp, played by Goldie Hawn at her most frumpy.
Helen's fiance Dr. Ernest Menville (Bruce Willis) is a famous plastic surgeon at the top of his game, and he's completely enamored of Madeline.
Very quickly, Madeline steals Ernest as her husband and Helen falls into many years of self loathing.
Zemeckis propels the story forward like a bullet train, jumping forward 7 years in time.
A mysterious woman with a magic potion comes into their lives. The ageless Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet) is Lisle, offering eternal youth in a glowing vial. But is it really eternal? What are the side effects? Where's the fine print.
Zemeckis uses every make-up and special effects trick in the book to have characters gain hundreds of pounds, drop ten years off their lives and have a lot of fun as we watch vanity run amok. This was his second film to win a Best Special effects Oscar.
Willis is terrific playing against type as the terrified husband, who's gone from famous plastic surgeon to only practicing in funeral homes. Who knows, that may come in handy!
Director Sydney Pollack has his best on screen role since "Tootsie" as Madeline's physician having a hell of a time finding her pulse.
Writer David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible) brings plenty of wit and one-liners to the story, while never confusing us as the story propels forward, covering over 50 years from start to finish.
Streep and Hawn tear up the screen as rivals. Some of their best weapons are very quiet one-liners delivered face-to-face. That's saying something when they also face off with shovels and shotguns.
Wrapped in a great music score by Alan Silvestri (Romancing the Stone, The Abyss), DEATH BECOMES HER turns out to be an ageless comedy/fantasy nearly 30 years after it's release. It gets an A-.