Cousin Bette ★★½ 1997 (R)
Lange plays a mean game of Old Maid in this adaptation of Honore Balzac's novel, set in 1840s Paris. Always outshone by her more beautiful cousin Adeline (Chaplin), Bette is considered plain and not very bright by her aristocratic family. When Adeline's husband Hector (Laurie) asks her to become his housekeeper instead of his wife after Adeline dies, there is no doubt what she means when she hisses she will “take care of everyone.” She uses her family's own baser instincts to bring about their downfall. Lange's performance as the cold and manipulative Bette is worth the price of a rental by itself. Big screen debut for theatrical director McAnuff. 112m/C VHS, DVD . Jessica Lange, Elisabeth Shue, Aden Young, Bob Hoskins, Kelly Macdonald, Hugh Laurie, Geraldine Chaplin, Toby Stephens, John Sessions; D: Des McAnuff; W: Lynn Siefert, Susan Tarr; C: Andrzej Sekula; M: Simon Boswell.