4 May 2001 | Katmiss
Garry Marshall's "Beaches" is another examination of friendship and how it can be affected over time. This theme was expertly handled by Arthur Penn in his 1981 masterpiece "Four Friends". "Beaches" is just as powerful, but it's predictable ending prevents it from truly reaching greatness and all sorts of odds and ends stick out.
But maybe it's meant to be that way. It is based on a novel, unread by me, and for all I know it could be truly faithful to the source material. But I can only judge from the film itself. And for one, I am tired of the syrupy ending that was popularized by 1970's excellent "Love Story".
But despite that, Marshall has directed a very good movie here. He may be coasting lately, but "Beaches" proves he's a natural at the type of genre I like best: the serious comedy. We laugh so we may not cry. That may sound corny, but it's true and many of my favorite films are that kind of film: "10" (Blake Edwards, 1979), "The Man Who Loved Women" (Edwards, 1983), "Skin Deep" (Edwards, 1989), "The Apartment" (Billy Wilder, 1960), "The Fortune Cookie" (Wilder, 1966), "Harry and Tonto" (Paul Mazursky, 1974) and "An Unmarried Woman" (Mazursky, 1978) to name a few.
The performances are first rate, especially Bette Midler, whom I'm only used to in comedies. With this film and "Stella". she proves what a truly great actress she really is. She deserved an Oscar nod for this performance. Barbara Hershey is fine as always in the kind of role she can play in her sleep.
One thing that really irritates me is the term "chick flick", which implies that it's only a "women's movie" and men are not only discouraged to see one, but not allowed to even enjoy it. And people I know say that if a man enjoys a so-called "chick flick", he must be gay.
Well, I am definitely heterosexual and am affirmed enough in my manhood to see and enjoy these films. Isn't it about time we just stop the bull and admit that we like these films too? Action is O.K., gore is fine for those who like that kind of thing, but I'd take an intelligent and moving comedy/drama anyday over T&A. And if other guys can't accept that, they're missing out on some good films.
***1/2 out of 4 stars