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The Rich Man’s Wife (1996)

The Rich Man's Wife poster

Sometimes a name resurfaces in your consciousness and you wonder, Yeah, whatever happened to them since I saw that fantastic film they made so long ago?  Did they wear themselves out in getting it made? (It happens.) Writer/director Amy Holden Jones made a wonderful impression in Love Letters (1983) a low-key if exacting emotional drama. Jamie Lee Curtis unearths a stash of same belonging to her late mother and they end up being the narration to her own affair with married James Keach. Not only was it an unusual film for American cinema, it was made under the Corman umbrella. Jones had started as an assistant to Scorsese on Taxi Driver where she met her husband, DoP Michael Chapman.  She then edited Corman’s movies and directed Slumber Party Massacre – a sort of feminist take on slasher. After Love Letters, she had a very interesting screenwriting career and just look at some of the credits:  Mystic Pizza, Beethoven, Indecent Proposal, The Getaway, The Relic. And this. Halle Berry is the titular character, young and married to a much older man (Christopher McDonald) with a pre-nup she wishes she hadn’t signed so she could marry her lover Jake (Clive Owen) whose ex-wife isn’t too fond of either of them any more. On a botched vacation she drunkenly tells stranger Peter Greene her fantasy and unfortunately he’s a total psycho (Greene was serially typecast in the 90s – remember Zed in Pulp Fiction?!) and appears to have murdered hubby and she falls under suspicion … There’s a cheat ending. There’s something wrong with the structure and the characterisation here. And Berry is not a great actress. This much we know. And we are distracted by her, uh, slightly, different appearance (this was made 20 years ago – maybe that’s it). Perhaps Gwyneth Paltrow had a lucky escape – this was supposed to be her big break. Hmm.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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