Sweet Revenge

Network Premier: September 24, 2000
Sweet Revenge


“Sweet Revenge,” a dark-humored farce, premieres on Showtime, 9/24/00, at 8PM (ET/PT). This black comedy stars Helena Bonham Carter as Karen Knightly, a high-strung, aristocratic British woman who’s heartbroken over the failure of her affair with a married man. About to commit suicide by jumping into the Thames, Karen meets Henry Bell (Sam Neill), a fellow victim of life’s vagaries who’s about to off himself. Instead, Henry makes a pact with Karen that they’ll each get rid of a problematic person from the other’s life. The trouble is, after Henry agrees to the plan, he meets Imogen – the wife of Karen’s philandering lover and the woman he’s to dispose – and finds that he’s fallen in love with her. Then there’s the fact that Karen is, upon closer inspection, rather insane.

Dove Review

With a dark and sometimes unnerving mixture of elements from “Strangers on a Train” and “Throw Mama from the Train,” this made-for-Showtime movie is occasionally satisfying. I said, occasionally. Unfortunately, most of the comic moments center around sexuality. And the premise of someone destroying another person’s life is a bit unsettling in a world where such deeds are committed more and more often. At one point the female lead drives a wedge between a man and his wife, leading her to divorce him; then she causes havoc at his work, and finally she prevents him from reaching his ventilator before his asthma attack can finish him off. I found little humor in her evil and unpunished crimes, which brought harm to innocent people. “Edgy” is the key word to this script, rather than suspenseful or humorous. Although the leads give fine performances, the adulterous affairs, the kinky sexual situations, the sexual innuendo, the course language and the overall negative feel of the production left me dispirited and anxious to view something a little more uplifting.

Content Description

Language: Oh god 6, S-word 2, screw 1, bastard 1, several expletives – Sex: it is implied that the leads sleep together after their first meeting; he wakes, tied to the bed with a pair of her panties as his only covering, as the elderly maid enters, paying no attention to her predicament – played for laughs, it fell embarrassingly flat; two couples are committing adultery; a woman undresses to have sex; a couple of sexual conversations, one taking place in front of wide-eyed preteen girls; after food is spilled in a man’s lap, a dotty maid gets down on her knees and begins briskly rubbing at the spot; later dogs sniff at his crotch – Smoking: the female lead smokes – Drinking: wine and beer are served, but no drunkenness – Violence: a man is shot with a shotgun in a duel; a man is hit in the face, his nose broken; a man dies because a woman refuses to rescue him; a fire destroys a house, supposedly with the demented lead left inside


Company: Showtime Networks, Inc.
Director: Malcolm Mowbray
Producer: Simon Bosanquet
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 90 min.
Industry Rating: TV-14
Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Sam Neill, Rupert Graves, Martin Clunes, Kristin Scott Thomas.
Reviewer: Phil Boatwright