I love it when TV surprises me nicely as it has done lately. Lawrence Casdan’s dark comedy I Love You To Death made me laugh again – and I was as amused as always when watching this hilarious movie. It’s a simple story based on real events: a wife betrayed and hurting tries to kill her philandering husband, a local charmer who never misses a chance for romance.
Tracey Ullman plays this miserable, quiet wife Rosalie who, right after she shares her worries with her mother – played by amazing Joan Plowright, surprisingly quickly finds strength to punish her carefree husband. The mother, a disillusioned and uncompromising woman arranges a plan to eliminate her unfortunate son-in-law and this is where an avalanche of comic situations kicks off.
The scheme does not go as planned though, three other characters get involved here as well. Two of them, some clumsy and ill-witted drug heads, hired by the ladies as hitmen – cannot really figure out what is happening around them, let alone realizing what the ladies in fact want them to do.
The third character character who joins the ladies in their bold and vindictive endeavours – is Devo, a young man played by ever memorable River Phoenix. Devo is very much fond of Rosalie and very much eager to release her from the marital bonds.
Humour in this film, in large part, stems from the disparity between the seriousness of the matter and the attitudes the main characters apply. They all seem to enjoy and fear the whole murderous idea at the same time and are lost in their contradicting desires.
One can easily imagine what may happen when such an ‘impossible’ group of seemingly ordinary characters teams up to cooperate. Well developed contrasts between the characters and their intentions create the comical tension in the story; little gestures, the characters’ faces expressions and – what I personally enjoyed most – quite amazing ways of reasoning of the two junkie would-be murderers played by Keanu Reeves and William Hurt.
Specially William Hurt together with his hair gives quite a ravishing performance here. I cannot stop laughing each time he appears on the screen. Tracey Ullman is so delightful and so lost between love and hatred while Kevin Kline and Joan Plowright are truly extraordinary comedians what they prove here beyond any doubt.