Synopsis: A marriage that seemed perfect comes crashing down after strange developments begin to be discovered by a wife involving her husband.
Stars: Goldie Hawn, John Heard, Kate Reid, Ashley Peldon
Director: Damian Harris
Running Length: 104 minutes
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: There was a time in the early 90’s when the mystery-thriller was the genre de rigueur for many Hollywood actors and actresses. Most were developed around their central star and most were good, but not great efforts. I’m not sure if Deceived (originally titled The Mrs. which I like) was written with Hawn specifically in mind, but it absolutely was tailored to her strengths. A modest success at the box office, Deceived is one of those rough gems that I find myself returning to every year or so as harmless entertainment.
Hawn was riding a string of solid work as she entered the 1990’s and would continue making movies steadily for the next few years. While she has been absent from the screen for more than a decade (yes! It’s true!), her work has always been a nice mix that highlights what she does best. Even though Deceived does have some classic Hawn moments, it’s a more serious turn that overall feels effective.
The film starts off walking the fine line between romantic comedy and drama…so much so that you may check the DVD case to be sure you popped the right movie in. The “meet cute” nature of Hawn and Heard seeing each other in a restaurant strikes a nice balance and gives good insight into Hawn’s character.
As this is, after all, a thriller at heart it’s soon time to throw some wrenches into the Hawn’s idyllic life now as a married mother and that’s when the movie becomes more formulaic but nonetheless mostly interesting. It success can be solely attributed to Hawn’s performance as she learns about dark secrets and dangerous criminals that may be after her. The movie has a nice pace and is kept on a good clip by Harris…and being the son of actor Richard Harris he seems to know to move it along so you can get your drink on after.
Aside from Hawn, there are a few good performances to see and one really rotten one. Heard is strong here, creating a nicely sly character that gets more interesting as the movie develops. Reid is dynamite in a small cameo near the end of the film and don’t blink or you’ll miss Oscar winner Beatrice Straight as Hawn’s mother (her other scenes must have been cut…how else would you explain it?). The one real dog of a performance is Peldon as Hawn’s young daughter. Child actor or no, her acting is so annoying and awful that when she is threatened late in the film you may be wishing she gets a few whacks.
With a nice Hitchcock-lite feel to it, the film builds to a satisfying ending that wraps things up in a nice bow. I’m not sure we needed the extra 30 second epilogue to really feel like we got our money’s worth…but up until that point the movie is a nice exercise in performance and style befitting the talent of those involved.
And hey…I dig the poster…nice and spooky!