Saturday, December 16

The Bridges of Madison County Film Review

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When Carolyn and Michael are given the task of arranging their mother funeral they uncover a shocking secret which she took to the grave with her. She leaves them a letter explaining about a wonder 4 days she had when they were children and tells her not to think bad of her and to read her journals which explain it all. They start to read these journals and we get taken back to when the story started.

Francesca is an Italian woman who fell for an American soldier during the war and as a result moved to Iowa, it is the 1960’s and she is a good housewife who looks after her husband and two children. Her husband and children go away for 4 days to show a prize animals they have raised and reared on their farm leaving her alone.

Francesca is looking forward to spending time on her own but she never imagined a stranger would show up on the farm and change her world forever. The stranger is Robert, he is a photographer working for the National Geographic magazine and is looking for the Roseman bridge. She tries to give him directions but this is hard a none of the roads have names so she offers to take him there. There is an awkward silence at the start of the journey and she feels as if she is doing wrong by being with him. Once at the bridge they soon relax and find out about each other. Francesca invited Robert home for some food and they really do hit it off.

They start to spend time together and Francesca relaxes as she tells Robert she is happily married and he accepts it. Their friendship blossoms and soon Francesca is feeling more than friendship for Robert but with her family due back in a few days can she give into this lust and love she feels for him and can she ever dream of giving everything up to go away with him?

I had high hopes for this film as it s Directed by Clint Eastwood and also stars him and the previous ones I have seen him both acting and Directing have been very good, I have to say when the film stated I was a little dubious as t seemed to be another flash back film but once I got over this and the story really started I was totally hooked and drawn into the story. The storyline was wonderful and quite moving at times, I think this was helped with the performances the two lead actors gave.

The role of Francesca was played by Meryl Streep and I don’t think there could have been anyone else would could have given such a powerful performance. She was very shy and naive at the start of the film and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how she grew and opened up as the story moved on. She was strong when defending her family and Could easly see how she fell for Robert when she was already married. She lived a quiet life in a small town and really was bored with it all. She gave a good impression of wanting nothing to happen and the emotions she managed to make me feel were overwhelming. She had a great chemistry with Clint Eastwood who played Robert and I have to say he was also excellent in his role.

It was good seeing Eastwood paying a normal man and not a soldier or cowboy as he was able to give us more and show many more emotions and sides to his character. He came across as very genuine and true to his feelings and I found it moving when he clearly felt something for Francesca but put her first and did not act on it. The way they were together was powerful and I enjoyed the awkwardness at the start of the film and thought the way this changed over time was great,. They seemed to connect in a great way and never seemed uncomfortable with each other.

We did have some good small support role which included actors, Annie Corley, Victor Slezak, Jim Haynie and Phyllis Lyons, they were all very good and gave a bit of depth to the story.

The film was set in the 1960’s in Iowa and I thought this came across very well on screen, the costumes were good and some of the dresses Francesca wore were very dull and authentic for the time. The props were all excellent and looked great and I loved how the quiet and boring life of the town was put across. I did actually enjoy seeing the house as it was originally being shown at the start and end of the film, when we were in the present time as this was a lovely touch showing their mother kept it the same and did not change it. The music was also very good and moving, it helped with the emotions and feelings of the film.

The DVD which I have has no bonus features but this is no great loss for me. The running time of the film is 129 minutes and I found this to be a great length with the story moving at a good pace from start to finish. The certificate is a 12 and I do agree with this. I managed to get the DVD for just £1 from my local shop who are selling off their old DVD’s and I thought this was a bargain.

I have to give this film the full 5 stars as t was so powerful and moving, the story was excellent and so too was the acting. I have to give a lot of credit to Eastwood for another masterpiece he has created in this film. This is certainly one for all romantics in need of a love story.

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