The late Margaux Hemingway's rocky acting career was supposed to take off with this bizarre cross-breed of genre sleazefest and toney '70s gloss-a-thon. Hemingway, a model in real life, plays a model here and somehow manages to be unconvincing. Much more believable is Mariel Hemingway, Margaux's real-life 15-year-old sister, making her film debut as Margaux's 15-year-old sister. Mariel steals her big sister's movie and demonstrates that she's a star in the making. Once the revenge is under way, Margaux becomes one of the few fashion models able to take out a speeding car with heavy artillery. The biggest problem with Lipstick (besides bad acting, bad writing, and bad direction) is that it's too slick. It has that whole Jordache commercial feel, with chic glamorous people filmed through Vaselined lenses saying chic glamorous things -- even the rapist is gorgeous in this movie -- and it steps way over the line as far as manipulative exploitation goes. Even I Spit on Your Grave didn't try to eroticize rape the way this trashy picture does. The only reason to watch Lipstick is the cast -- there's Anne Bancroft in one of the most embarrassing roles of her career, Benson's Mrs. Kraus (Inga Swenson) as a nun, and Mariel Hemingway showing that one must suffer to make it in Hollywood. Mariel -- even at 15 -- left no doubt as to who the actress was in the Hemingway family. One must grudgingly admit that the photography (by two masters of their craft, Bill Butler and William A. Fraker) is just as slick as it wants to be.
by Robert Firsching review