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YMMV / Death Becomes Her

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  • Accidental Aesop: While the movie's main point is about aging, it drops another one in regards to how Madeline and Helen's relationship is handled. The two are driven by a psychotic hatred and jealousy of each other, and they're constantly seeking to one-up each other for any and every perceived slight. Their motivations boil down to a back and forth of the Blame Game, and even when they're forced to live with each other to maintain their bodies they can't overcome their petty hatred. The message? Women hating on other women will just make both of them unable to be happy or live a decent life, especially when they have to depend on each other to survive.
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  • Awesome Music: Alan Silvestri's wonderfully bitchy Gothic strings. Also the Stylistic Suck of Songbird!
  • Cult Classic: A highly underrated Zemeckis film, which has many fans for its Black Comedy, creative ideas and hammy performances.
  • Genius Bonus: Songbird! is based on Sweet Bird of Youth, which is about a White-Dwarf Starlet - just like Madeline.
  • Ham and Cheese: Everyone does show a tendency to ham it up, and it doesn't hurt the slightest.
    Helen: En Garde, bitch!
    Ernest: Can't you see? IT'S A MIRACLE!
  • He's Just Hiding!: Apparently, Hollywood zombies do this after a while, like Greta Garbo and Jim Morrison.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: This wouldn't be the last time Meryl Streep played a vain woman seeking the fountain of youth through supernatural means.
  • Hollywood Homely: Helen in her early scenes.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Isabella Rossellini as Lisle has some of the most hysterical moments in the film, despite having the least screentime. And Catherine Bell was her nudity body double. Also, Sydney Pollack as the doctor who examines Madeline.
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  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The movie is about as subtle as a bull in a China shop when it comes to its Aesop about aging, but it's damned effective, too.
  • Theiss Titillation Theory: Lisle's necklace.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Helen comes off miles more sympathetic than Madeline. While she's just as petty and driven by revenge as Madeline is, Madeline actively ruining Helen's love life by stealing every man Helen has does make it easy to see why Helen hates her so much, especially given Helen ends up in a mental ward at one point, and though Madeline claims Helen attacked her first, we never actually see how Helen treated Madeline in the past, we only see Madeline deliberately seducing Ernest. Plus calling someone "cheap" seems a fairly weak reason to go about ruining their life.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: While Ernest ultimately comes across as the most sympathetic character in the film and goes on to live a fulfilling life, it still doesn't quite make up for the whole pushing his wife down the stairs incident. Also, he's technically a bigamist. His wife is still existing, if not alive. So he is technically married still.
    • Then again, since marriage is considered binding until dissolved by divorce or death, and the clinical definition of death is the irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory action, it's equally valid to say the marriage is technically dissolved, too. Madeline was observed to have no heartbeat, and her comments about playing dead to entrap Earnest indicate she can go without breathing. This one is the very soul of a YMMV, and would mean hundreds of billable hours to lawyers if push ever came to shove.
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  • Visual Effects of Awesome: It won an Academy Award. While some of the effects may seem a little hokey and rough now, at the time putting a backwards head on a woman and putting a hole right through another was a huge leap.


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