deathbecomesherby Alicia Glass, contributing writer

The lifelong rivalry between two women encompasses a hapless plastic surgeon, the shallowness of “nothing lasts forever,” and a potion of immortality!

Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn) and Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep) have been rivals, at each other since, well, it seems like forever. Since high school and the early stealing of each other’s boyfriends, certainly. Mad (an appropriate nickname) is obsessed with beauty treatments to retain her youth and vitality for her acting, even to the point of stealing Ernest Menville (Bruce Willis), a plastic surgeon, away from Hel (there it is again), while Hel degenerates over years into a fat slump, obsessed with Madeline Ashton.

It doesn’t take long, some passage of years, for Mad to let her youthful obsessions get the better of her, even to the point of taking young stud lovers, while ignoring Ernest as he degenerates into an alcoholic undertaker, and their ridiculous house out in Beverly Hills echoes with loneliness.

Hel on the other hand, escaped the mental health facility, began writing, and discovered some super-secret potion of immortality that turns her into a siren sexpot. Mad just has to find the potion of immortality for herself, leading to a scene with a very strange woman, Lisle Von Rhuman, who demands a crap-ton of money for the potion but crows happily about, “Siempre vida! Live forever!” when Mad goes bottoms up. Hel, still lost in her Mad obsession but so much more subtle about it these days, plans with her beloved Ernest to stage Mad’s suicide, but it all begins to unravel when Ernest pushes Mad down the stairs and surprise – she doesn’t die!

After that, the movie goes down a slide of hilarious scenes of Mad and Hel each repeatedly trying to kill each other while Ernest looks on, amazed. They both seem to have forgotten the warning Lisle gave them about take care of their bodies, since they’d be together a long long time, and after watching the two most selfish women he knows try to kill each other repeatedly, he’s finally had enough! Ernest has lived up to his part of the bargain: “til death do us part! – well, you girls are dead, and I’m parting,” and does his damnedest to escape!

I love me this movie and have watched it repeatedly. It is a Zemeckis film, the same guy who did Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Back to the Future films, and his glorious sense of humor is brought to life in this black comedy about the selfishness of immortality by some of the best comedic actors around!


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