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   THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1995) 

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CAST
Meryl Streep
Clint Eastwood
Annie Corley
Victor Slezak
Jim Haynie

DIRECTED BY
Clint Eastwood

PURCHASE


DVD



Soundtrack




Time: 135 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Romance/Drama

Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (Streep).


I have to say, the more films I see that are directed by Clint Eastwood, the more impressed I become with his talent. I have never been a huge fan of his (I'm too young to have seen him in his acting heyday), but he always seems to be in or directing quality pieces of work – and this is no exception. It's a small, quiet character study where two people meet, fall in love and discover parts of themselves they thought they had lost. Robert James Waller should thank God everyday for the creative team that chose to bring his book to the screen.

Of course, this would not have been a very good film, I'm sure, if the incomperable Ms. Streep was not playing the lead. I just can't say enough about her. If you haven't seen many of her films, go out and rent them. She is a real actress – truly getting under the skin of every character she plays. In "Bridges", Francesca has forgotten what it was to be alive and appreciated for herself and not just the role she plays in her family's lives. Meeting Robert Kincaid allows her to get in touch with her womaness again. Her reawakeining is subtle, magical and heartbreaking. It makes one pray to never find oneself in the kind of life she leads.

Most of the film takes place in Francesca's kitchen where she and Robert gain physical, spiritual and emotional sustenance. You may think I'm stretching this a bit, but it really is a sweet love story where the two actors bare all as these characters, warts, flab and all. Eastwood is warm and funny as the wandering photographer sent to rural Iowa to take pictures of covered bridges who finds more than he ever could have imagined among the cornfields of America.

The best parts of the film are the conversations they have over dinner, where they reveal themselves slowly with trepidation and shyness, both knowing that once they start there is no turning back. And though you desperately want her to go with him, in the end, she does what's right for both of them, by staying with her family. If this film had any other director, they would have trashed the ending after some random test screenings and had them travelling around the world happily ever after. But that's not life, nor what this film was trying to say. Their love would have ruined too many lives and never would have lasted. What they shared was enough. Which I think is pretty beautiful in its own way.

All I can say is I was pleasantly surprised by this film, which had me weeping copiously by the end. I also liked it better the second time I saw it. If you're looking for a wonderful, well-acted, adult love story this film will be right up your alley.



"And in that moment, everything I knew to be true about myself up until then was gone. I was acting like another woman, yet I was more myself than ever before."

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