Actors try to stay away from being type cast in certain types of characters. Bette Midler has played many female character that are brash, bossy and outspoken. That is perfectly fine with me.
In The First Wives Club (1996), she was part of a trio of middle aged women that included Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton. They were best friends in college, but life, as it does, took them in different directions. Then a friend commits suicide when her husband left her for a younger woman. Brought together by the fact that all three of their husbands have dumped them for younger wives, they want one thing: revenge.
I am also including the video for the classic Lesley Gore song “You Don’t Own Me” because it is just so cool and is a perfect addition to this movie.
The story of the younger woman and the older man has been told time and again throughout history. But we rarely hear of the older woman who was with the man during their youth and has recently been shoved aside for a younger and prettier model. It is even rarer for that woman to become powerful in her own right and stand on her own two feet.
In Then She Found Me (2007) April Epner (Helen Hunt) is not having an easy life. Her husband (Matthew Broderick) has just left her as soon as she finds out that they are expecting. Her adopted mother Trudy (Lynn Cohen), is disappointed that April has not achieved more in life. Add in a flirtation with Frank (Colin Firth), who is the father of one of April’s students and Bernice (Bette Midler), the birth mother that suddenly returns to her life.
What I like about this movie that it feels real. The reality is that sometimes the floor falls down on us and everything comes down with the floor. April’s journey is inspiring and a case of art imitating life.
I recommend both.
There are some writers who are so iconic and so memorable, that it only takes a short time for the reader or the audience to figure out who the writer is. Neil Simon is one of those writers.
In 1986, one of his plays, Brighton Beach Memoirs, was made into a movie.
Eugene Morris Jerome (Jonathan Silverman) is a teenage boy living in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn before World War II. His house is rather crowded. In addition to his parents and elder brother, his widowed aunt and cousins share what is already a small house. Years later, as an adult, he is telling his story looking back on his days as a young man.
What I enjoy about this movie is that there is a universality of being a teenage boy or girl and the growth spurt, emotionally and physically that we all go through during those years. There is also an innocence to this story. While the characters have lived through the Great Depression, they do not know that World War II is just on the horizon.
I recommend it.
There is an old saying: opposites attract.
In Annie Hall (1977), opposites did more than attract. They had a relationship, but that relationship was not meant to be. Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) is a twice divorced forty something Jewish man from New York who has spent much of his adult life in therapy. His ex-girlfriend, Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), is a Christian night club singer from the Midwest who has a unique sense of style. The movie is told in flashbacks, telling the story of Alvy and Annie’s relationship, told from Alvy’s point of view.
This movie has endured for nearly 40 years for a reason. Funny and quirky, the relationship between Annie and Alvy on screen is very real and very human. This is one of Woody Allen’s signature movies and the reason why it ranks for me as one of the best films of the late 1970’s.
I recommend it.