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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Bridges Of Madison County [1995] [DVD]
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
It was a masterstroke to put two of the best actors around these days together in this good old fashioned romance. Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood (who also produces and directs) look so good together on screen. Of course, Meryl is made up to look a little dowdy, and perhaps Clint might look a little old for the part, but who cares? Their scenes together are so good, they make it look so natural. Meryl Streep plays Francesca a lonely and bored housewife who by chance meets Robert (Eastwood) a professional photographer who is commissioned by National Geographic Magazine to take pictures of various locations in Iowa. They develop a relationship which lasts for only four memorable days. Then, Robert moves on and Francesca is left with her memories which remain with her right until her death. The story of the romance is told through her diaries read by her grown up children who find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that their mother had been disloyal to their father. However, they come to realise that Francesca's love for Robert is one of those loves that happen to most of us during our lives, a short term love, which remains in memory. A fascinating film of human relationships. Enhanced by a superb music score, but lacking extras which is a shame. If you like good old fashioned romances, then pour yourself a drop of brandy, just sit back and enjoy.
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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2003
This, quite simply, is one of the most heart-breaking films I have ever seen. This is a film for the more mature audience (not for people with short attention spans), whether you have experienced love or not this film will touch your soul. The mix of a beautiful story and superb acting (namely Streep and Eastwood) makes this a truely powerful film that will stay with you for a very long time. You go on a journey with the characters (whom we become to know throughout the film without really realising it) on a roller coaster of emotions and afterwards the intensity of the story leaves you feeling quite drained in a hopeful sort of way (if you're like me and can't make it to the end without crying). This story has passionate love, strong friendship, morals, values and beliefs - and above all this story is about life - decisions, sacrifices and emotion. This story is perfectly told and utterly absorbing (even better than the book). In fact, the film & characters are so real that when I visited the acutal film site I felt like Francesa Johnson had really lived there and that Robert Kincaid had driven there to find her. This is a very powerful film (not for the faint hearted, childish or shallow). This film, which will touch your life if you let it, has to be one of the most powerful, real, intense and passionate love-stories of our time. If you are in love with the idea of love then this is an absolute must-see film...but be warned, it will break your heart; when Robert Kincaid stands in the rain, well, it is absolutely soul-wrenching. This romantic but real film is a true master-piece.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2001
I saw this film for the first time last night on video. I was blown away by the performances of Clint Eastwood and especially Meryl Streep. I decided to buy myself a copy so that I can savour these again and again. This was a performance quite removed for Mr Eastwood, the reason I put off watching it for so long but I was pleasently surprised. You must see this film, I'm sure it will change a few things.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 August 2006
This is quite simply one of the best films I have ever seen. Definitely up among my top five ever. The quality of the acting from Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood is just faultless. They look so good together on screen, it is hard to believe they are only acting. You can literally feel the intensity of the characters' love for each other and the heartbreaking decison they have to face, to either stay together and be true to themselves, or separate and go back to their individual lives, and therefore put the feelings of others before their own happiness.

I agree with the previous reviewer, in that it is one of those rare movies that is actually better than the book. I have watched it many times, with the kleenex at the ready of course. It is simply perfect for a wet Sunday afternoon.

If you love weepies, you will adore this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2007
~
I've already rated the book and given it top marks, but now I have to do it for the film as well. It isn't often that you find a film that equals the quality of the book, but this one does.

I'm neither a Clint Eastwood nor a Meryl Streep fan, so I was extremely sceptical that this was going to do the book justice. How wrong I was. I am dead impressed at how closely Clint Eastwood, as the director, kept to the book. I was also impressed with his acting. I've heard it said of him that he's made a career of being expressionless, but in this movie, for the first time, he enchanted me with his animation. Definitely a side of him I've not seen before.

Meryl Streep was equally good. She played the housewife to perfection, and again, enchanted me and showed me a side of her I could truly like and look forward to watching, again and again.

Perhaps I shouldn't give this movie five stars. The actors who played Streep's grown children were absolutely appalling, though the rest of the supporting characters were believable and didn't get in the way of the story in the way that these two did. I've seldom in my life seen such bad acting, particularly in a film containing two such stellar actors as Eastwood and Streep. Who to blame? Eastwood for directing them poorly? Perhaps, but the rest of the film flowed beautifully. The actors, for being so appalling at their craft that they threatened to ruin the entire film? A bit of both, I think.

Thankfully, the primary characters more than made up for this, and I will hold to my 5-star rating because the movie was beautiful, moving, and tore at your heart just as hard as the book did. I've seen it 3 times on the telly now, and I cried all three times, just as I do every time I read the book. I will definitely be adding it to my library, and wouldn't discourage anyone else from doing the same.
~
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2002
I love movies. I love a movie that takes you on a journey and presents you with an emotional core which you can identify with. Blockbusters have their place but my preferred movie is one which has its roots firmly planted in some sort of reality. So you can imagine how delighted I was when The Bridges Of Madison arrived at cinemas in 1995.
Based on the famous but not all that great book by Robert James Waller- Bridges Of Madison County is a slow burning tale of a love that a small town cannot accept. But one which keeps on burning long after the principal characters have died.
Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) is an Italian American housewife. Her life is uneventful. She cleans, cooks and reads but wants more from life. Her passions are awakened when her husband and two children go away on a short holiday. Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) an enigmatic photographer from National Geographic magazine pulls up outside her house asking for directions. From that point on Francesca discovers her desire for life and unearths feelings that she never knew she had.
The film then explores the dilemma for both characters. Over four days Francesca and Robert embark on a passionate affair. She is attracted to his lust for life and the fact that he has travelled the world. He is attracted to Francesca's worldly mind and the fact that she seems to have so much going for her beneath the fascade of household duties and her overall aim to please her family.
Still awake? Well, although the film may not sound emotionally involving- believe you me it truly is. Meryl Streep brings emotion, depth and a sense of reality to a very challenging role. Francesca has a great sense of humour which Robert uncovers. She also has an amazing sense of loyalty which is tested to the limits as the affair becomes more than a fling. Streep offers the audience a sympathetic portrayal of a woman who deserves a second chance at love. Clint Eastwood again immerses himself into the role of Robert. You are convinced of the chemistry between the two the leads and this is a testament to their awesome talents. All the more extraordinary when you realise that Eastwood directed the film also.
The sheer contrast between Iowa and the weird and wonderful places that Robert has visited are superbly evoked through the power of dialogue rather than visually. This is a film where the slightest movement from each character displays the power of body language. There is a delightful scene where Francesca is laughing at on of Robert's tales- kicking her legs in the air as she smiles. This effectively displays how isolated Francesca has felt over the years. She had clearly lost the power to laugh until now.
As the plot develops it is clear that Francesca has a choice. Does she stay in the marriage that has made her so unhappy? Or does she leave with Robert for a new life? Her home life may be unhappy but she has stability. If she leaves with Robert - he is a loose cannon who may not settle down immediately. The choice is hers. But you will find yourself very involved and half making the decision for her!
The last 15 minutes of this film are absolutely heart breaking. Years after the affair - passions are reawakened and the results leave a devasting blow for Francesca. Meryl Streep manages to make you weep in the final scenes through her silent determination not to shed any tears. When she does let go- the urge for you to follow suit is out of your control.
I have seen many movies. But never have I found one as moving as Bridges Of Madison County. It delivers a simple tale of two characters who deserve each other but because of small town attitudes and family commitments face a dilemma stronger then both of them are willing to admit.
If you fancy an emotional night in- draw the curtains, chill a bottle of wine, get plenty of chocolate and watch in awe as these two amazing actors break your heart in two with their once in a lifetime performances. You will not regret it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2003
I read the book first by Robert James Waller and loved it so much I had to see the film. I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere near as good as films normally aren't a patch on the book, BUT this is an exception. Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, take you on a journey that you never want to end. It's basically the story of a lonely and disallusioned housewife who's family is away for a week and a photographer passing through town. They end up spending 4 days and nights together whilst he is photgraphing the bridges in Madison County. What starts out as tentative friendship develops into a deep meaningful love. He asks her to leave with him and she is torn between her love for him and whether to do the "right" thing and stay with her family, as this kind of thing isn't supposed to happen in a small town in Iowa. It's so heart wrenching, I found myself sobbing and shouting "go with him" it truly is a beautiful tender love story that will stay with you for a long long time,,,,,,,,,, it's a must , please see this film,,,,,,,Meryl Streep is as usual, outstanding,,,,,,,and suprisingly so is Clint Eastwood,,,,,who also directs the movie with such subtleness he leaves his "action hero" roles way behind.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2006
Simply a beautifully made, wonderfully constructed film. Streep is as always impecable, and Eastwoods skillfull direction keeps the film moving along at the right pace. I dont see myself as a hapless romantic, but i have to say i enjoyed this film very much, so much so that i feel i would like to go and visit Roseman bridge for myself! Thank you Mr Eastwood for a marvellous adaptation that may well be even better than the book. Why arnt all movies this well made? Outstanding.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2006
I first accidentally caught this movie on TV one afternoon a few years ago, and probably wouldn't have gone out of my way to watch it ordinarily. But watch it I did, and fell in love with the beautiful cinematography, the emotive acting and the compelling characters. It is now one of my all-time favourite movies.

Meryl Streep is absolutely perfect as Francesca, Clint Eastwood was surprisingly believable as Robert, and as another reviewer said, there is something about the bridges and the 'scent' of Iowa that draws you to want to see Madison County for yourself first-hand!

It is one of those rare movies that is far superior to the book. The novel is clumsy and leaves the reader no room for imagination. This is an excellent adaptation that goes beyond the cold, clinical sexual frustration of Robert James Waller's novel, and invites you to feel with the two main charcters and come to terms with the painful choices they have to make.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2004
After reading the other reviews, you will know the story. I just want to repeat again that the acting is superb. The chemistry between Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood is extremely electric and the viewer definitely feels for them. Just like the Francesca character, the viewer is torn as to what she should do: run away with her lover or stay with her family. The last 15 minutes are heart wrenching and - as you can also tell from the other reviews - you should be prepared to be in floods of tears. This movie is not easily forgotten. I've read the book afterwards and although it was good I enjoyed the movie more. (The book focuses more on the Robert Kincaid character and what a wild and untamed man he is. Too egocentric for my liking, as Waller clearly portrays himself in this character...)
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