Film Scene Spotlight: Joel Schumacher’s Cousins

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my followers! In spirit of all the onscreen love and its lovers, today’s highlighted film scene is from Joel Schumacher’s romantic comedy Cousins [1989], which is a remake of French comedy Cousin Cousine [1975]. Now, this film is no masterpiece by any stretch of imagination, and suffers on almost all fronts, but it does have its sweet and funny moments, as the one below, and, surely, it is not for nothing that film critic Roger Ebert once gave it thumbs up and three and a half stars.

In a nutshell, the film is about two couples who go to a wedding and end up liking other people there, meaning that they end up “swapping partners”. The scene above is where legal secretary Maria (Rossellini), who is married to Tom (Petersen), a car salesman, has already met dance teacher Larry (Danson), and fell in love with him. Here, she finally has a chance to spend time with him, and spots him across the opposite train platform. Maria makes her way to the other side via a staircase, only to realise he is not there any more, as he was doing the same thing. They missed each other as a result.

There are many reasons why this scene works so well, and the humour and music are the main ones. Maria ends up on the platform all alone and the fellow passengers stare at her in silence and bewilderment from across the platform opposite. Maria then realises that Larry is on the opposite side of the platform yet again. Even after this, the fellow passengers-spectators are not going anywhere, but observe the ending to this strange running up and down the platforms. Maria is trying to appear unflustered, but she does not really care at this point – amantes amentes (all lovers are mad), as a Latin saying goes. There is just something so funny, but also deeply lovable in the whole set-up. The powerful music composed by Angelo Badalamenti makes it a very touching reunion. There was something inexplicably relaxing, entertaining and flamboyant about the comedies of the 1980s, and this scene sequence in particular is just brimming with happiness (especially if we forget the rest of the film for a moment and its bunch of uncomfortable issues), and probably is the best scene of the entire film.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane says:

    I haven’t seen this, but I’m going to look it out for Isabella Rossallini. You’re right, there is something entertaining and flamboyant about 80’s comedies, which is in contrast to recent films set in the 80’s that show it to be almost the dark ages (eg Empire of Light)! A strange decade I think

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting! I have not see any recent films about the 1980s, so for me it (maybe thankfully) still remains a bright and fun decade!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. John Charet says:

    Great review 🙂 William Petersen, Ted Danson and Isabella Rossellini are wonderful and I always love Angelo Badalamenti’s music 🙂 As for the film, it is basically (as you so eloquently imply) hit and miss on a whole 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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