Published On: Sun, Jul 31st, 2022

Sempre Viva! Cult Classic Comedy ‘Death Becomes Her’ Turns 30

Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her

Robert Zemeckis’s pitch-black comedy Death Becomes Her turns 30 this weekend, a milestone that would have the characters in the film dashing over to Lisle’s castle for a taste of that magical pink potion. The 1992 cult comedy classic follows the decades-long frenemy-ship between vain actress Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep) and mousy writer Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn), who become estranged after Madeline steals and marries Helen’s fiancée Dr. Ernest Menville (Bruce Willis). But years later, as Madeline is dismayed by her aging and her soured relationship with Ernest, she seeks something to restore her youth. After plastic surgery and affairs with younger men fail to satisfy her, she comes across the mysterious Lisle (Isabella Rossellini) who offers her a mystical pink potion that revives her youth. Unfortunately, the potion comes with some unintended side effects, rendering Madeline and anyone who takes it immortal.

While the film received mixed reviews upon its release, it was praised for its use of CGI, going on to win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. But the film’s curious legacy lives on as both a cult classic, a sharp satire on aging, and a camp masterpiece. Death Becomes Her has also garnered a legion of adoring LGBTQ+ fans, and has become a beloved piece of queer culture. The film has inspired midnight screenings, drag shows, and even a runway challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The Mary Sue

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