Beaches (1988) Movie Review

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Summary: A privileged rich debutante and a cynical struggling entertainer share a turbulent, but strong childhood friendship over the years.
I said I was gonna review it! lol I had to especially after I decided to watch it once I saw the remake which you can see the review for right here. I love this movie and it will always be one of my favorites!
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Bette Midler as C.C. Bloom. CC is a brash, loud, outgoing woman with a big personality and a big voice to match. All she wants to do is be a famous start, a singer. She is consistent with that throughout the film, we see her fight for what she wants, including being very strong when it comes to standing up for herself. I think Bette Midler was really good in this role, it was made for her, to use her beautiful voice throughout the film is a plus, to hear her cover these songs is always iconic. The strength she has for CC’s character is great, she plays the career obsessed and self-centered character very well. She has such great lines and moments, the moment where she slaps John after their marriage and says “this is the most important of my life, I don’t ever want you to forget it” and it’s so perfect the way she says it. She also makes you like and hate her too which I think it would have been easy for another actress to just make you HATE CC considering just how much she is.
  • Barbara Hershey as Hillary Whitney Essex. Hillary is smart, beautiful and she starts off a bit more open to things around her. She goes to law school for her father, but she ends up doing what she wants in being a lobbyist and working with a union. She wants to be free of all of the pressures put on her by her father, but she ends up going back in order to be with her father and puts herself back into her box. All the freedom she had is now gone and she is jealous of CC because of her ability to always be true to herself. I think Barbara Hershey does such a great job with playing the quietness of Hillary, as well as the moments when she’s sick towards the end, you feel her pain, her frustration and you feel bad for her. I think she’s great in this role, she always makes you see Hillary not only as victim but as someone at fault for her roles in her arguments with CC.
The Supporting Characters. I think all of the supporting characters in this film are all handled very well. John Heard as John Pierce is great in both his relationship with CC and the almost one with Hillary, he is handsome and his presence on screen is always great. Mayim Balik portrays young CC and she sets up that character so well, her brassy personality, her big voice, her want to be a performer and a singer, she was a fantastic choice. Marie Leeds as a young Hillary was also great, she was quiet, but forceful which is a shame to see the sheltered woman she grew up into. Mayim and Marie had great chemistry together, I believed that they were immediate friends. Grace Johnston plays Victoria Essex, Hillary’s daughter and she is very similar to CC in ways, which is kind of funny, she was bossy like CC but smart like Hillary. Lastly, Lainie Kazan as CC’s mother Leona Bloom, she isn’t in the movie a lot but when she is, it’s like she is Bette Midler’s mother, her greatest moments are in the beginning when CC is a child. She is hilarious.
The Childhood. This is the set up to what we see as adults. Hillary is lost and she meets CC who is smoking under a bridge and after a conversation, they become friends. Hillary sees CC perform, she sees her throw a tantrum, she hears her argue with her mom and then they spend the afternoon together. Later, CC gets a peek into Hillary’s world when they go to the fancy hotel’s restaurant, it actually gives a nice set up into both of their lives, and allows them to get a look into each other’s lives. Plus, we see them write letters back and forth as children a few more times.
The Friendship. I think Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey had great chemistry from the beginning. We see them as children and they immediately hit it off, as most children do and then they’re apart for years, it’s set in the 80s so all they can do is write letters with no idea what the other looks like unless they sent pictures throughout the years, and when they get back together as young adults it really feels like they’ve been talking for years but also awkward because they may not know each other the way they think they do. Their friendship goes about 30 years and it’s like a roller coaster, they come together and have a great time for some years, they fight and get jealous over men like women do, then years later we see them drift apart, and have a devastating argument and not talk for years. Then they come together again, it’s amazing actually. We see this friendship grow and crumble and get stronger.
The Drama. This movie has soooo much drama! Between Hillary and CC, Hillary and her family, CC and her family, Hillary and Michael Essex, CC and Victoria, CC and her career, CC and John, Hillary and John. There is so much that it just grows and grows and everything, I think, comes to a close and each storyline is wrapped enough to not leave too many questions. I think it’s handled very well, it makes you laugh, makes you cry and makes you wonder what would have happened if Hillary and John would have stayed together? What if instead of leaving Michael after discovering his infidelity she stayed with him? Plus, the jealousy between both lead characters, it will make you feel.
The Emotion. This movie is so emotional! There are many times throughout where I might tear up but the last third of the film, during Hillary’s health decline is so emotional that I know what’s going to happen but I react to it every time like I didn’t know. What makes matters worse is that Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath my Wings” during those last scenes always makes me sob. Bring the tissues! It’s a good thing though because it means that you have cared about these characters enough to cry, unless you just cry at everything lol.
The Music. All of the music in this movie is iconic and unforgettable. I don’t think any of it was written specifically for this film other than “Otto Titsling” and “Oh Industry” which are two songs performed in shows CC is in. The movie opens with CC “Under the Boardwalk” rehearsing for her tour, which happens to also allude to her childhood in meeting Hillary, which is super cute. When we hear “Glory of Love” it’s such a great number, although Mayim Balik wasn’t singing it, watching her perform it is such a treat and puts us right into understanding CC’s talent and her passion for singing. The other songs are also covers that Bette Midler sings superbly. “Wind Beneath My Wings” is put during an emotional time and the song coupled with the movie just makes me cry. The music in this movie serves purpose, it is part of the scene, or it tells a story and it’s great!
Cons: 
Annoying Leads/Melodramatic. I can see how viewers can view both CC and Hillary being whiny and annoying characters. They both have this thing where they just seem really catty towards one another and you don’t really know why and that can be really annoying. Even though they have arguments that go into why they feel this way, the fact that they’re even arguing can definitely be like “ahhh okay, get over it”.
Overall, look I love Beaches, I was really thinking of a con to really name and while I think it doesn’t hold that well in terms of how it looks (maybe it should be remastered). But otherwise, I think it’s such a good film depicting friendship between women. I think that while this is a bit overdramatic, friendship is indeed like this. You meet, you fight to stay in contact and when you come back together, sometimes it’s like you never left, sometimes you argue, sometimes you come back together to squash the arguments and this movie really shows how that is. Not to mention, the ups and downs of fighting for your career, trying to get to something you love, not understanding who you are, I think this movie shows and covers all of that.
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Beaches? What do you think about it?
What is your favorite 80s movie?
Favorite Chick Flick?
Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to like and follow this blog!
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