The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
The second I finished watching The Bridges of Madison County, I rushed to my typewriter to make sure I wrote down everything that just hit me. This movie is so beautiful, rich, real, heart-wrenching… every time there’s a closeup of Meryl Streep’s eyes, with that longing for a happier life, it just makes me ache.
Francesca and Robert’s story is one I believe everyone has experienced. A strong attraction, filled with moments of beauty and down to earth conversation… gazing stares that aren’t just originated from lust, but admiration and deep affection. The Bridges of Madison County really hits me hard and makes me think about why great love stories never last.
I suppose if Francesca did leave her family and obligations in Iowa, her and Robert’s love affair might not have lasted. But when Robert stands outside in the rain at the end of the movie, and Francesca just stares at him, I LOST it. She squeezes on the door handle… he hangs her necklace in his car mirror… she’s ready to run for him, but doesn’t… I yelled at my computer screen: “GET OUT OF THE CAR! GO!”
Why can’t Francesca take a chance? I guess it’s harder when you’ve already built a family and a foundation… you’re stuck with a routine and it’s difficult to break from it. But just because they don’t run to each other, doesn’t mean they didn’t end up together. All their lives after that point, Francesca and Robert always care and love… they even request their ashes to be scattered off the bridge [insert ugly cry]. SO good.
Meryl Streep is a boss and a half in this movie. Portraying a character who wants more, but never abandons her obligations, is someone we’ve either all known or been. Every movement she makes is mesmerizing, and the chemistry between her and Clint Eastwood is extremely raw and beautiful. The Bridges of Madison County sort of reminds me of an old time movie… I love that it’s set in the mid 1960s, and includes Johnny Hartman and Dinah Washington music. I love that Clint Eastwood plays the wanderer, the drifter.
My favorite scene, which I think is everyone’s favorite, is when Francesca is done taking a bath and walks into the kitchen; Robert puts on “I See Your Face Before Me” by Johnny Hartman, and the two of them slow dance underneath the dim lights. It’s so beautiful every time Francesca feels his embrace, the way she touches his shoulder, the strong hold of their first kiss… hands down one of my favorite scenes in movie history.
Francesca and Robert’s story is real, and even though it only lasts four days, it doesn’t mean it’s not significant. That’s the beauty with love… it doesn’t matter how long it lasts… if it captures your heart and changes your soul, then you know it’s certain.