Beaches (2017) Review

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Summary: The friendship of two women from childhood and onwards.
So, I remember seeing a trailer for this on Facebook, and I was like hmmm okay. I love the original film, I recently discovered it’s a novel, so I will definitely be reading it some time in the future. It’s definitely really hard to look at a remake, or a “years later” sequel without comparing it to the original or feeling defensive for what came before it. I usually try to be optimistic until I watch it because you never know, the remake may improve things that the original glossed over, or answer questions that the first caused. It may not be all the time but it happens. Also, sometimes remakes are really good. I’ll name some after the review where I quite like the remake.
**There will be spoilers ahead for this film AND the original so don’t read further if you don’t want to be spoiled. If you’ve never seen the original with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, then GO WATCH IT and then come back here for the review on the remake. I’ll probably review the original soon.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So this is kind of hard because there’s only really two people who this film really focuses on, which is kind of a shame. Yes, this story is about CC and Hillary but as we see them together and apart, there are many people in their lives that we don’t spend any time with to really understand why the leads are around them. I just didn’t care.
  • Idina Menzel as C.C. Bloom. I liked Idina Menzel in this role, but it’s very watered down from the C.C. Bloom that I know. She’s likable and C.C. isn’t really supposed to be, at least not all the time but this version is and I also don’t think she’s that interesting like she’s supposed to be. There are times where something is interesting more than other parts but overall she’s fine. She’s driven, confident and there are times when she seems jealous of Hillary (mostly at the beginning when they meet again as adults). Idina Menzel I think would have been even better in this role if it was a longer movie where she had time to really get into this part because C.C. is similar in ways to Maureen Johnson from Rent which she originated… so it wouldn’t be that new of a character from her but it wasn’t enough for her to really get into otherwise I believe she would have been greater.
  • Nia Long as Hillary Whitney. Hillary is from a rich family of lawyers, as a child she’s a bit more daring and brave but as she gets older and gets into her family’s life she gets more and more restrained which causes her to blame C.C. later on for things and basically end their friendship. In this film, I think Hillary is the better written character, they give her more because it’s easy to tell that they wanted to hit all of her major points, as the last half of the film focuses on the end of her life. I think Nia Long was also good in her role, I also feel like she could have been better if the movie was longer and she was really given time to sit in the role, sure, they focused a bit more on her characterization but it still wasn’t that much but I saw the potential that Nia Long brought to the part. She was likable as she’s supposed to be and even when she’s being mean, she’s still likable.
The Music/Singing. The music is supposed to be a big part of CC’s character, I hate to pull from the original but I have too… CC wanted to be a star, on stage, on Broadway etc. As it’s updated they obviously have more updated things BUT I still feel like that having someone like Idina Menzel who IS a Broadway star, they should have stuck to the Broadway thing. I mean come on, missed opportunity. Haha, I guess this turned into a con…but what I was trying to say is that I like Idina Menzel’s voice and I think the original songs they put in the film for her, was good for her to sing. The arrangement of “Wind Beneath My Wings” was fine as was the “The Glory of Love” rendition at the end. There’s a song that CC sings at the piano, that was a nice song.
The Friendship. So I felt like I had to put this here for some reasons. I thought that Long and Menzel’s chemistry was fine, I did believe they were friends, that they liked each other and towards the end a bit more that they loved each other.
It’s Emotional. It’s still a sad story, mostly towards the end when Hillary is dying. I teared up a little bit because it was at that point where I truly began to believe the friendship between the two. I never felt that in the beginning but I felt it then and it was sad. I thought Nia Long worked hard to sell her decaying health, her frustration that she was leaving her daughter and her jealousy that she couldn’t do with her daughter what CC was doing. I thought she did well. Idina Menzel was also great in her reactions to Nia Long’s reactions about her feelings towards these things. There’s also a great scene with C.C. and Victoria on the beach, it was nice.
Cons:
The Childhood. Soooo definitely didn’t like the beginning of the film. I didn’t think either of the young girls they chose were good choices for who they grew up into. Not only did they not look anything like them, but it didn’t feel like an instant connection of friendship. C.C is singing (not very good lol but I guess that was a running joke that I didn’t understand) and Hillary is in the crowd and she’s grinning while C.C. is singing and yeah, Hillary is supposed to be taken by her singing BUT I feel like they should have met before C.C. sang because it came off kind of weird and awkward. But anyway, it lasts for what feels like 5 minutes which in the movie world’s time was probably an hour and we jump right to them in the photo booth which is pretty much the end of their childhood together before they see each other again as adults and it didn’t feel earned. I was like meh.
The Friendship. I think it’s because the childhood start didn’t start off strong, the adult friendship suffered for it. I didn’t believe in this 30 year friendship they were supposed to have. They emailed back and forth for years, I think they texted too, so they at least knew what each other looked like (so the great scene of C.C. not recognizing Hillary after years doesn’t work in modern times) but I didn’t believe they ever really met before Hillary showed up in the bar or hotel where C.C was singing, though if we’re being serious, they technically only met once before that time. As time went on and we got to the points where Hillary was jealous, I wondered why she would be because it didn’t feel like she would be… and C.C. kind of felt like she was just coasting through. It just didn’t feel real. I believed towards the end that they were friends but while in the prime of their lives, no.
The Characterization. There were times where neither Hillary or C.C. were that interesting. This is definitely in the writing, directing and the fact that the movie at least has an hour off compared to the original film. Of course they grow as the film continues but the parts of them that are supposed to make them unique from each other, don’t really stand out. C.C. is supposed to be, brassy career driven, determined, selfish, a bit self-centered and a little mean and I didn’t think she was any of those things. There were times where some of that would come through but it wasn’t consistent and when she tells Victoria (Hillary’s daughter) at the end that she’s selfish, I was like “girl… where?” When she and Hillary have their big argument, I didn’t think C.C. really did or said anything that would cause Hillary to be mad at her, unlike the original version. Bette Midler was really relentless, very in your face and she could definitely hit below the belt if she had too and it never felt that way with Idina Menzel’s C.C. it was disappointing. Hillary, like I said was handled a bit better but only because I felt they wanted to make sure they ticked all the boxes of the issues that happen to her, she’s supposed to be sweet, kind, but also a bit lost in her dreams as she gets caught up in what others want from her, which is what C.C accuses of her later, it kind of is said but not to really any effect personally. Hillary gets jealous of C.C. in part because she seems so free while she isn’t and while that was there, it felt by the book and I didn’t feel bad for her like we’re supposed to. The only time I really felt bad was when she was with her husband and she expressed her want to have a baby and he shoots it down. *sighs* It’s kind of unfortunate that neither of their characters were that strong, the writing and directing just wasn’t where it should have been.
The Music. So this is a lifetime movie so I wasn’t expecting much from the songs, however, it was very forgettable. Outside of the two iconic songs from the original movie “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Glory of Love” all of the other songs were very forgettable. I like Idina Menzel’s voice and obviously she’s not Bette Midler but I kind of want to her hear sing C.C.’s song from the original movie but I guess “Under the Boardwalk” wouldn’t make sense as they never went under one as kids, nor did they meet that way but “I think It’s Gonna Rain Today” is such a great song, I was expecting it and nope. I figured the songs she sings while on stage wouldn’t be the same but *sighs* I can’t even tell you what kind of song it was, or what it was about. So forgettable.
The Supporting Characters. So, like I was saying before, even though the movie is about C.C. and Hillary, we still are supposed to meet and learn about the people in their lives. Maybe not like them, but care about them because C.C. and Hillary care about them. We never got to spend any time with C.C.’s mom, or really that much time with John Pierce to really like or care about him, he and C.C. never got married so when he left, I didn’t care and I felt like she didn’t either lol. The only person who really was in there was Victoria, Hillary’s daughter, who is a big part of the story at the end, she was cute (not the best child actor but cute) but I wanted to care about them because Hillary and C.C. were supposed to but I never felt like they did care about anyone outside of Victoria.
To Short. This movie is way to too short. They sped through so much. We hardly get to see C.C. and Hillary spend any time together as children. They at least spend the whole day together, yeah it’s a bit more updated so it wouldn’t be the same but they should have let them do more together. I can hardly even remember what they did outside of talking briefly on the beach and the photo booth. They send letters back and forth for a moment as kids but then it’s quick into adult hood and it just felt like a quick roller coaster ride without many hills and drops. I believe if it was longer, it might have been better.
Rushed. I keep saying that they hit all of Hillary’s points, which is true because they did but I remember thinking “Really?” like when Hillary finds out her husband is cheating on her, it happened so fast (though I did like her reaction when she walked into the house lol) and then it quickly went to Hillary meeting with C.C. again, and then it was like:
quick cut to C.C.
C.C. PREGNANT?
jump cut to Hillary
Hillary: Yes!
And I was a like lol okay. This scene shouldn’t be like this but sure.
Overall, this movie was very disappointing. I found myself rolling my eyes more than I was drying them or feeling like I was really into it. I really wanted to like it and there were parts of it that I did like, such as Idina Menzel and Nia Long, they were both likable in their roles, they were fine, the music was fine, the two iconic Beaches songs were arranged different but they were nice, the friendship was pretty basic and I thought the two leads had chemistry and it does get a bit emotional towards the end. However, there is a lot of misses in this film. The childhood friendship is supposed to be where it all started and I didn’t feel like it was the beginning of a long standing friendship, it didn’t feel real. The characterizations of the characters was lacking which I feel is a flaw to the writing and direction, the movie is also way to short which felt like they rushed through the story but made sure to hit the big things in Hillary’s life but none of it felt like it had an impact because they just sped through it.  Also, the music was very forgettable. I’m going to listen to the original soundtrack lol.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Did you see Lifetime’s version of Beaches?
Have you ever seen the original Beaches film? If not, go watch it right now.
My list of Remakes I think are good 
**This is list is of remakes that I think are good, that come from an original film I’ve seen. Definitely not saying they’re better than the original so don’t freak out.
  • Footloose
  • The Karate Kid
  • The Jungle Book
  • Peter Pan (2003) though I don’t always think of this as a remake
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I like this movie…fight me lol but since it’s based off a book, I don’t feel like it’s a straight up remake of the original film)
  • A Little Princess
That’s all I got right now lol.
Let me know in the comments below what film remakes are your favorite!
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