I watched this on Monday night but have only now sat down to review it. Last nights viewing efforts were an absolute disaster. Both Taxi Driver and Once Upon a Time in America were so old that they wouldn't play. To say I was bitterly disapointed is an understatement! I have yet to see either film.
But anyway this isn't about either of those fine films. This is about what many have dubbed 'the greatest film of the 90's'. I won't stick my neck out here to agree or disagree, suffice to say it is ONE of the greatest, rather than THE greatest. Like so many films it is based on a book, which I have not read. This may or may not be a good thing. Book adaptations bring with it so much controversy in whether it kept to it or not. So in many ways it is good I haven't read it so I can see it as a film rather than a book adaptation.
I rememeber my mother seeing this film, and since she had I always thought of it as a 'chick flick'. When I saw it tucked away quietly at my video store and that it starred my man Clint, I dug it out and brought it home. I gave it a quick read up on wikipedia before viewing it too.
Well to call this soley a 'chick flick' is nonsense on my behalf! Any one can watch this film but it is fair to say it would be an older generation that would get most out of it, and more to the point understand it. I'm not married but I could see what was going on and understand the emotional turmoils of all concerned.
And what emotional turmoils! This is an incredible emotional roller coaster of a ride for the viewer. Believe me this one is a tear jerker! And I will admit, yes, by the end my eyes were running with the wet ones!! And what makes it so? Meryl Streep alone? No. As great as Streep is she is superbly aided by the most remarkable performance by Eastwood. This is an actor who has blown away cowboys, indians, crooks, crims, scum, you name it. Been the hard man, the intolerant, the heartless,etc, and yet turned around and pulled an emotional performance like this out of the bag. He is a gentle, easy going, general nice guy, and is unbelievably good at it. Who after watching it could believe that this was Clint Eastwood we had just watched?
Some say this is Streep's film. To be sure no other actress today could have filled the role, but no-one should over look Eastwood. He and Streep have the screen chemistry that makes us share their love and ulitmate seperation. Eastwood at no time tries to over bear and ego his way over Streep. Streep thoroughly deserved the one of many of her Oscar nominations for this role. Eastwood of course not only acts, he directs. His hand is every where. I'm an unashamed admirer of Eastwood and yet again in Bridges we see his craftmanship, his professionalism, his cleanliness, and eye to detail shine through.
The only thing I can critcise about Bridges, and I have read this elsewhere, is the acting of Streep's on screen children. In a word they are terrible. It is a real shame. I think Eastwood has made a mistake in putting in their scenes with such poor acting. The son in particular is just b-grade material. I hope within myself this is not a deliberate attempt by Eastwood to make his and Streep's performances shine even more, because it isn't neccessary. The children's scenes are a part of the story and I felt they should be there, but the acting of them grated and was a small blemish on an otherwise flawless film.
For those of you that have seen it I don't have to go in to too much deatail about the plot etc. For you of those who haven't seen it then what are you waiting for? Get down to local video store and rent this now!
All I can say in opinion to Streep's character's decision is this. What an emotionally courageous decision she made to stay with her husband and family. She may have been unhappy with her lifes direction, but she knew that she had no moral grounds to leave. She still loved her husband even though she was unhappy about her life, she loved her children and couldn't just get up and go leaving them behind. She knew as a wife and mother she had to stay because she didn't have any valid reasons besides love of another man to leave.
For me, as hard as it was for her she done the right thing. This is one of those rarest of films where you are engaged in everyway. I felt both Streep's and Eastwood's dilemma and heartbreak, and yet all the time I felt for Streep's husband. The scene where he is dying in bed brought a stream of tears to my eyes as this hard working, decent, and gentle man, apologised to his wife for not being able to give her the life she wanted and then telling her he loved her very much. Streep of course breaks down in a river of tears. We of course sympathise for them both, and that scene really confirms that she made the right decision to stay. He didn't deserve to have his heart broken by having her walk out. That poor woman. To love two men and yet find it dificult to stay with the one and not go off with the other. She has valid reasons to be with both, but in the end makes the hardest decision the right one. It is one of a raft of very moving moments in the whole film.
This film is as moving as any film I have ever seen. I cried a river!!!!!! You have an heart of ice if you don't! Beautiful, and very, very, moving, this is a film that you will never forget. Streep is unbelievable. Eastwood is subtle in letting it all be Streep. And it is surely one of the great films of the 90's and if not of all time. Just lovely in everyway. Watch and have your heart strings pulled like never before. Oh and....bring the tissues........lots of them!!