The Object Of Beauty

Michael Lindsay-Hogg, a stage, TV, film, and music-video director whose credits include Let It Be and the codirection of Brideshead Revisited, shows himself to be a rather witty writer and visual storyteller in this 1991 comedy about a spoiled American couple (John Malkovich and Andie MacDowell) strapped for money in a posh London hotel. Their only present asset is a small Henry Moore bronze once given to MacDowell as an anniversary present by her estranged husband (Peter Riegert), and after she suggests the possibility of faking a theft of the bronze for the insurance, their mutual trust threatens to crumble when a deaf-mute cleaning lady (Rudi Davies) actually makes off with the object. The film runs a bit longer and slower than it should, and tends to lose some of its energy en route (the cleaning lady’s motives, which are part of the movie’s satiric point, take much too long to get spelled out), but Malkovich is at his unpredictable best as a prevaricating playboy, and Joss Ackland as the hotel manager manages to be quite funny as well. With Lolita Davidovich and Ricci Harnett. (JR)

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