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Butterfly Kiss Movie Review

reeves winterbottom plummer amanda

The May 1996 issue of Films in Review arrived three months late, as usual. It featured pages and pages about the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, attenuated reviews of movies that have been out for ages, and a color cover shot of Dian Hanson. (Who?) But this quaint little publication also seemed to contain a few words of warning for folks like, well, me. It appears that contributor Rocco Simonelli is steamed about audience members with the NOIVE not to like Michael Winterbottom's Butterfly Kiss, starring Amanda Plummer and Saskia Reeves. Says Rocco: “It's viewers such as yourselves who are the true cause of Hollywood's decline in recent years, its pervasive unwillingness to take chances. The next time you're bitching about the tedium and lack of imagination embodied by most Hollywood fare, remember it was YOU who wielded the knife.” Gee, Rocco, we thought that was Amanda Plummer! As far as we can recall, we sent all our knives to the cleaners before we saw Butterfly Kiss. Even if it didn't have Michael Winterbottom's mitts all over it, you wouldn't have to tell us it was a guy who came up with yet another psycho lesbian movie. What is so daring and innovative about Basic Instinct or Single White Female? Lesbian looney-tunes have been around at least as long as the early days of the silent flickers. Loving women equals killing people, especially men, and usually after sex. It goes with this particular stretch of cinematic territory. Casting Amanda Plummer as the homicidal Eunice is rather stacking the deck, because she can be every bit as much of a ham as her dad Christopher. The only surprise here is Saskia Reeves as Eunice's submissive lover Miriam. Reeves photographs entirely differently in color than she does in black and white. Through most of the film, Miriam drags herself through life like a wimpy Sigourney Weaver, but in black and white, she reveals flashes of wit, humor, and irony in the best tradition of Maggie Smith. This despite Winterbottom's edict for Reeves to make Miriam flat and boring. And what do lesbians do in the daytime besides get rid of the bodies they carved up the night before? After a 1996 screening at San Francisco's Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Butterfly Kiss had a brief commercial run at nationwide Landmark Theatres, then made a fast flight to video. woof!

1994 85m/C GB Amanda Plummer, Saskia Reeves, Paul Brown, Des McAleer, Ricky Tomlinson; D: Michael Winterbottom; W: Frank Cottrell Boyce; C: Seamus McGarvey; M: John Harle. VHS

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