Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1996. TriStar Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, Barwood Films. Screen Story and Screenplay by Richard LaGravenese, based on the screenplay Le Miroir A Deux Faces, dialogue by Jean Meckert, Denis Perret, screenplay by Andre Cayatte, Gerard Oury. Cinematography by Andrzej Bartkowiak, Dante Spinotti. Produced by Arnon Milchan, Barbra Streisand. Music by Marvin Hamlisch. Production Design by Tom H. John. Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge. Film Editing by Jeff Werner. Academy Awards 1996. Golden Globe Awards 1996. Podcasts: Bad Gay Movies.
Barbra Streisand spends two and a half hours trying to get Jeff Bridges to tell her she’s pretty. Should we care? Actually, it’s a passable movie, easily enjoyable and lightly charming, but one whose central message is flawed and vain. Streisand plays a dorky Columbia University professor who answers an ad by skirt-chaser Bridges, one he has put out in an attempt to have a serious, uncomplicated relationship with a woman where sex and animal attraction are not an issue. The two hit it off and go out constantly, eventually going as far as getting married even though they’re still behaving like brother and sister. Suddenly Streisand realizes she wants more from life, and in order to get it convinces her sister (Mimi Rogers) to put her through a marathon of a makeover that involves crimped hair and pastel-coloured makeup (am I the only one who found her more attractive beforehand?) The real reason to watch this film is that Streisand directs actors extremely well (notice every single film she has directed has received at least one Academy Award nomination for an actor), and here the supporting roles really shine: Rogers is fantastic as her beautiful and frustrated sister, Pierce Brosnan effortlessly charming as her brother-in-law, and in one of her best roles in years Lauren Bacall shines as Streisand’s overprotective but very wise mother. If you’re looking to enjoy it, you probably will, but in the end you’ll still have just watched a film where a woman’s life came full circle because her husband finally told her she was hot.