Bridges of Madison County was helmed by Clint Eastwood.
Bridges of Madison County movie cast: Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep
Bridges of Madison County movie director: Clint Eastwood
Bridges of Madison County movie rating: 3.5 stars
An extra-marital affair that can change lives in profoundly moving ways? It can happen, or at least that is what the 1995 American film Bridges of Madison County suggests. Starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood in the lead, the movie is based on the book penned by Robert James Waller. The film was lauded for its story and performances, with Streep even earning an Academy Award nomination for her role in the process.
The plot runs thus — Francesca is an Italian war bride whose primary duty (which she does lovingly) is looking after her family and being the perfect homemaker. This obviously leaves no room for Francesca herself, who has her hopes and desires. Desires that are rekindled after she crosses paths with the National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Eastwood). Together they have a passionate four-day affair while Francesca’s husband and children are away at the state fair. If this storyline intrigues you and you don’t want any spoilers, it would be best not to read this article further. (SPOILERS) Now as it happens, somewhat predictably, Francesca and Robert are torn asunder once her family returns from their fun trip. But it is the time they spent together and the moments of absolute pain and longing which is the main draw of the film. There is this one sequence when Robert and Francesca catch each other’s eyes post their separation, and Francesca holds the handle of her car’s door, as if deciding in that moment to leaver her husband behind — the character’s dilemma has a tangible quality to it. If for nothing, then for that moment alone this film deserves a viewing. Of course, the spellbinding camera work and the lovely, scenic beauty that it captures is a bonus.
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And for those of you wondering why was Clint Eastwood cast in such an emotional drama, would be blown away by how perfectly Eastwood plays Kincaid — aloof but curious, affectionate but distant — the actor is a treat to watch. Yes, he doesn’t possess that charisma that is usually associated with heroes of love stories, but his turn as the nomadic photographer is sufficiently arresting.
Of course, if you are looking to find any moral lessons out of this film, you might find yourself at crossroads. Because adultery is immoral but what about saying no to your love and living a dead life. How is that justified? Isn’t that unfair to the one who is being cheated on as well? Things can and do get complicated when looked with these lenses. And Bridges of Madison County might not be the best movie out there to tackle such issues. But when perceived as a love affair, this one hits the nail on the head. Bridges of Madison County is about the love affair of two souls who found and lost each other. It is the story of the heroine’s dreams and hopes which gets wings after her brief interaction with a mysterious stranger.