My husband walked in while I was watching this week's Saturday Matinee, 1995's The Bridges of Madison County. It was a coolish, foggy Saturday so I only felt faintly guilty that I actually was watching a movie in the middle of the afternoon. A movie I didn't clear ahead of time. Didn't bother asking anyone, do you mind if I—? I don't know what came over me. I figured if I was interrupted, the Amazon rental is good for 30 days, I could always go back to it later. But I also knew he was doing a little prep work for some reshoots he's doing next week, chances were pretty good I'd be able to watch the whole thing.
And then he walked in, stood watching the screen for a few moments. Already hooked, I felt a little guilty about hoping he was still tied up with his work project. I really wanted to finish the movie.
"What are you watching?"
"A Clint Eastwood movie."
"That is not a Clint Eastwood movie."
"Yeah, it is. Directed it and stars in it."
"A Clint Eastwood movie if he was making 'em for Lifetime!"I had to laugh.
"It's that Bridges movie isn't it?"
"Yep. Bridges of Madison County. With Meryl Streep."I could hear his eyes roll.
"Like I said. Not a Clint Eastwood movie."He came over, gave me a kiss on the top of my head. "Enjoy" he said and left the room. I put a pillow on the coffee table and put my feet up. Before he went back to his iPad, I could hear him in the kitchen, pouring himself a glass of ice tea.
There's a fair amount of ice tea drinking in The Bridges of Madison County. Iced tea and cold beer and hot weather which is always sexy. And dancing. I was right yesterday when I said Clint still had it at 65.
In this scene Francesca, lying in the tub, is thinking of Robert who has just had a shower. Staring at the dripping shower head she realizes the water would have poured right over his skin. She reaches out with her hand as though by feeling the water, she can feel him. She says she finds this thought very erotic, that she finds everything about Robert erotic. As do we Meryl, as do we.
Meryl herself, is stunning. I love the way she moves her arms, the way the back of her hand flutters to her face, her mouth. Her resistance to her own thoughts, her weakening, giving in. She's brilliant, but then she always is. Nominated for best actress, she lost to Susan Sarandon for Dead Man Walking.
It's definitely a love story for grown-ups; an old-fashioned romance about a couple of older people, people who've lived a little, or a lot, and had their share of disappointments and dreams that didn't quite come true. People who know where this will go too. Meryl was forty-five, the same age her character Francesca was supposed to be but the studio thought she was too old. They wanted to go with a younger woman. Schmucks. Our man Clint said no way, insisting she get the part. Thank God, because I can't imagine anyone else playing her. The resulting movie is unapologetically romantic, dripping with chemistry, and an ending to make you weep.
Seeing that it's Slacker Sunday and I've already gone on too long, I'll wind it up with my hope that the romantics among you had a chance to get reacquainted with The Bridges of Madison County. If you enjoyed it, I think you'll also love this behind the scenes video featuring Clint, Meryl, Clint's longtime cinematographer Jack N. Green and his editor, Joel Cox, along with screenwriter Richard LaGravenese talking about the making of the movie.