Saturday, February 28, 2009

Review: Beaches

Released: December 21, 1988 (US)
Rating: ♥♥♥
[official website] [wiki] [imdb]

There are two songs that remind me of my grandmother. The first is the song about the bears from Full House because of her fondness for the show. The second would be Bette Middler's Wind Beneath My Wings. My aunt sang this for my grandmother during her wake and whenever I hear it, I start to miss my grandmother.

Over the years, a lot of my (mostly gay) friends told me that I just had to see this movie. I was trying to avoid it because I didn't want more emotions to be charged into that silly song. Anyway, one day I finally decided to see it and here are my thoughts.

Beaches is the story of an extraordinary friendship between CC Bloom (Bette Middler) and Hillary Whitney (Barbara Hershey). At first glance, they are so different. No one would've expected they would become friends. The former is an extrovert; a singer and performer. The latter is a shy little rich girl. Over the years, they exchanged letters and shared their lives despite the distance. They became best friends until the very end.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the casting in the movie. Despite my grievances, I don't think anybody else could've played these roles. It just seemed to me like the movie was a big excuse to have the Bette Middler show. Yes, she is very talented. In fact, she sang one of my favorite Beatles covers, In My Life. It's just that every ten seconds, you get a reminder of how wonderful her voice is or how fantastic her acting is. Forgive me if sarcasm doesn't translate well online. About 90% of the song is scored with a Middler song. I cringed every time they showed theater-actress-Bette. It seemed so pretentious and tried too hard to be artsy-fartsy.

Barbara Hershey was a very big star from the 60's to the late 80's. I suppose the role called for her to be very watered down. I just felt that at first, she was very boring on screen. I didn't know that that had some relevance. She does seem very interesting and genuine. You can almost feel for her whenever CC becomes a little too much for the less campy viewers. Maybe it's because the first time I saw her, she was so spunky. It also didn't help that she was 40 years old when the film was being made and they tried too hard to make her look young.

Over-all, it's a nice story. It's a beautiful ode to friendship and how it can be found in the strangest places. It's a typical chick-flick from the 80's in a sense that it appeals to the emotion a lot. It's an interesting movie (probably because I didn't expect to cry for my grandmother at the end) and it's a must-watch for fans of the genre.