In 1978, narcissistic, manipulative actress Madeline Ashton performs in an awful musical version of ''Sweet Bird of Youth'' on Broadway theatre. She invites long-time rival Helen Sharp, an aspiring writer, backstage along with Helen's fiancé, plastic surgeon Ernest Menville. Ernest is smitten with Madeline, and breaks off his engagement with Helen to marry her. Seven years later, in 1985, Helen winds up in a psychiatric hospital after fixating upon Madeline. Obese and depressed, Helen feigns rehabilitation and is released, plotting revenge on Madeline.
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