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Bridges Of Madison County (1995)

Original Title : The Bridges of Madison County
Director : Clint Eastwood
Writer : Robert James Waller
Richard LaGravenese
Genre : Drama
Romance
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Clint Eastwood , Kathleen Kennedy , Michael Maurer , Tom Rooker
Photography : Jack N. Green
Distributor : Warner Bros.
MPAA Rating : Rated PG-13 on appeal for some sexuality and brief strong language.
IMDB ID : 0112579
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poster for "Bridges Of Madison County" by Clint Eastwood (1995)
Bridges Of Madison County (1995) - Clint Eastwood
 

Starring

Clint Eastwood Robert Kincaid
Meryl Streep Francesca Johnson
Annie Corley Caroline
Victor Slezak Michael Johnson
Jim Haynie Richard Johnson
Sarah Kathryn Schmitt Young Carolyn
Christopher Kroon Young Michael
Phyllis Lyons Betty
Debra Monk Madge
Richard Lage Lawyer
Michelle Benes Lucy Redfield
Alison Wiegert Child
Brandon Bobst Child
Pearl Faessler Wife
R.E. 'Stick' Faessler Husband
Tania Mishler Waitress
Billie McNabb Waitress
Art Breese Cashier
Lana Schwab Saleswoman
Larry Loury UPS driver
James Rivers James River Band
Mark A. Brooks James River Band
Peter Cho James River Band
Eddie Dejean Sr. James River Band
James C. Brewer James River Band
Kyle Eastwood James River Band
George Orrison Cafe patron
Ken Billeter Cafe patron
Judy Trask Cafe patron
David Trask Cafe patron
Edna Dolson Cafe patron
Dennis McCool Cafe patron
Michael C. Pommier Cafe patron
Jana Corkrean Cafe patron
M. Jane Seymour Cafe patron
Karla Jo Soper Cafe patron
 

Plot

The path of Francesca Johnson's future seems destined when an unexpected fork in the road causes her to question everything she had come to expect from life. While her husband and children are away at the Iowa state fair in the Summer of 1965, Robert Kincaid happens upon the Johnson farm and asks Francesca for directions to Rosamunde Bridge. He explains that he is on assignment from National Geographic magazine to photograph the bridges of Madison County. She agrees to show him to the bridges and thus begins the bittersweet and all-too-brief romance of her life. Through the pain of separation from her secret love and the stark isolation she feels as the details of her life consume her, she writes down the story of this four-day love affair in a 3-volume diary. The diary is found by her children among her possessions and alongside Robert Kincaid's possessions after Francesca is dead. The message they take from the diaries is one of hope that they will do what is necessary to find happiness in their lives -- whatever is necessary. After learning that Robert Kincaid's cremated remains were scattered off Rosamunde Bridge and that their mother requested a similar disposition for her own ashes, the children must decide whether to honor their mother's final wishes or bury her alongside their father as the family had planned. Adapted from the novel by Robert Waller, this is the story of love that happens just once in a lifetime -- if you're lucky.
 

Comments

A surprisingly sensitive film that Eastwood does well to keep away from the usual sentimental clichés of the weepy genre, 19 July 2004 Author: bob the moo from Birmingham, UK When Francesca Johnson passes away, her grown children are puzzled to learn that she wishes to be cremated and her ashes scattered from a local bridge rather than being buried next to her husband. Their puzzlement turns to surprise and shock when they read their mother's secret journals and read about an affair she had had many years ago with a photographer who came to the area for a few days.I had seen this film many years ago in the cinema when it came out and had only average memories of it. With it coming onto TV recently, I wasn't sure if I'd bother because I had the idea in my head that this was a rubbish weepy but decided to go for it anyway. I am glad that I do not just make assumptions about films based on genre because my memory had tricked me in regards this film and in fact it was surprisingly good. I'm not generally a weepy fan but this is not what you think a weepy will be. Reading the plot summary and watching the film itself, it is clear how easily this could have fallen into sweeping sentiment and unbearable mush and it is to Eastwood's credit that it never does. Even as the plot sees the lovers falling into idealised romance, the film never does and it is the cool, calm direction that keeps it from being this way. Some will see this as 'excusing' the affair but I don't think it does - affairs happen because the grass is greener and that is just what this film does, it seems romantic and idyllic but that's because it is meant to be. I'm the last person to try and defend having affairs but I don't think that this film did this but I can understand why people would dislike it for doing this.Without the mush, what is left is a film that is refreshingly free of sentiment and is able to deliver a grown up romance that is genuinely touching. This is seen in the honest chemistry between Francesca and Robert, sometimes things like this happen - two people just click, nothing has to be massively wrong in the relationship for it to happen. The film avoids easy shots (like making the husband be a real idiot) and just tries to show us why these two fell for one another so quickly. It isn't perfect of course and it is still a weepy of sorts - some of the dialogue is a bit self-consciously 'deep' for my liking but generally it was an adult telling of an adult romance - no corny ending, no sweeping score or clichéd effort to pump the audience for sentiment, instead I found it genuine and, as cold hearted a b*stard as I am, I was moved by the film.I am a fan of Clint Eastwood and this film was a real pleasant surprise as it showed how able he is as a director and performer. I have already praised his work as director but he also turns in an unshowy and natural performance in the lead. Streep has never totally won me over and I often felt that doing an accent is not the same as giving a performance. Here her accent put me off at first but generally she is good and shows suitable restraint in depicting her character. She suffers a bit from having to deliver a narration that occasionally contains sentimental dialogue but she does well despite this. The support cast is OK but really contributions from Corley and Slezak are no more than distractions from the main show which is a collection of natural scenes between the two leads and no one else.Overall, I consider this film a reason to not just watch any specific genre of movie and reject films simply because 'those aren't my type of things'. I was pleasantly surprised by a film that is romantic without being sentimental or mushy, idealistic without being unrealistic, moving without being sickly. True it may not be everyone's idea of a great film (nothing goes bang and there are no car chases) but I liked it a lot more than I had expected and if you want to see an adult love story then you could do a lot worse than this.
 
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