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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
The Object of Beauty
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Pioneer 01/91 DVD/VHS Feature Film
In this film, Jake (John Malkovich), a commodities broker, and Tina (Andie MacDowell), an ex-model, are living high on the hog in a deluxe London hotel. Her most prized possession is a Henry Moore bronze figurine that was a gift from her ex-husband (Peter Riegert).
These pampered American hedonists come face-to-face with an embarrassing cash flow problem when a cocoa deal he is handling is held up by a dock strike. With the hotel clamoring for payment of its bill, Tina comes up with the idea of pulling off a fast one on the insurance company by claiming the Henry Moore sculpture has been lost; it's insured for $50,000. Only problem is that Jenny (Rudi Davies), a deaf-mute chambermaid walks off with the object of art, which she sees as something to light up her impoverished life.
In this witty and well-acted comedy of manners, writer and director Michael Lindsay-Hogg explores the gap between the worlds of the rich Americans and the lonely hotel maid. Jake sees the figurine as a commodity. Tina views it as a treasure, while Jenny is moved by its beauty and its personal meaning to her.
On another level, the film is a journey of self-discovery. Although Jake and Tina are creative materialists, they are, at the same time, emotional infants only moved by their appetites and addictions. Their crisis compels them to renegotiate their relationship and savor each other without all the trappings.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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