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By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 27, 1991


Damian Harris
Goldie Hawn;
John Heard;
Robin Bartlett;
Amy Wright;
Jan Rubes;
Kate Reid

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"Deceived," a suspenseful if not particularly surprising thriller, exploits the fear that we're never really sure who we've married, slept with or even gotten a massage from. For all we know, they might be serial killers, kiss-and-tell authors or simply big slobs who leave their nail parings all over the vanity. In any case, it's an enduring genre, from "Gaslight" to "Dead Again."

Nicely directed by Damian Harris from a screenplay by Mary Agnes Donoghue and Derek Saunders, "Deceived" is a cautionary melodrama about love's blindness, betrayal and the illusion of bliss. An AIDS parable and an '80s bubble-burster too, the film follows the disintegration of a seemingly storybook marriage. Comedian Goldie Hawn stars, but gives us no reason to laugh, as your standard stalked heroine. In fact, the former ding-a-ling brings intelligence, dignity and determination to the plight of Adrienne Saunders, an unreconstructed yuppie living in Dinner Party Central. Along with health, beauty and a lucrative career in art restoration, she enjoys the devotion of an attractive husband Jack (John Heard), her chic friends and her 5-year-old daughter (Ashley Peldon).

Her happiness is short-lived in movie time, when an art historian friend is murdered while testing the authenticity of an Egyptian necklace. Matters worsen when her husband and her good friend Harvey (Tom Irwin) become suspects in a scheme to steal artifacts from an important museum. A series of clues implicates Jack, then he up and dies in an automobile accident, and Adrienne is left to face myriad mysteries about the man she thought she knew so well. The closer she comes to the truth, the more creaking stairs, dark corridors and deserted parking garages she encounters. And the more we feel for the poor victimized sap.

It's a miracle we can sympathize at all with Adrienne, who is after all getting her post-'80s comeuppance, but thanks to Hawn's understated performance we are drawn into her dilemma. She's been a fool, but then let's not kid ourselves: Who among us has not been a fool for love?

"Deceived" is rated PG-13 for violence.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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