She-Devil (1989)

SUSAN SEIDELMAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1989.  Orion Pictures, A Seidelman/Brett Production. Screenplay by , , based on the novel The Life And Loves of a She-Devil by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Golden Globe Awards 1989.  

This silly comedy is adapted from the novel by Fay Weldon and remade from the 1986 British miniseries.  is terrific as a mistreated housewife whose social climbing husband () leaves her for a sexy romance novelist (Meryl Streep, at her most breathlessly hilarious) who lives in a giant pink mansion. Instead of lowering herself to the level of begging for him back, Barr decides to destroy everything her husband loves about his life, starting with blowing up their house and then moving on to ruining his career. She teams up with a shrewish retirement home nurse (Linda Hunt) and ends up making quite the success of herself in the process. Lots of great revenge-tactic situations, but the two lead actresses have only one scene together and it could have been a lot better with more of their interaction. This was Streep’s first comedy after nearly a decade of melodramatic roles, and you’ll delight in how easily she takes to the genre switch.

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