This 1988 film was not a comedy although starred Bette Midler, the darling of comic invention, who made a bankable star at the movies as well. Here, in Beaches, the loveable comedienne loses none of her extroverted edginess but tempers it with a much softer shade, opposite the fine Barbara Hershey. As their respective characters, a beautiful friendship lasts a lifetime through thick and thin and ins and outs, the stalls in relating that happen to everyone, but these two get through it.
As girls, C.C. Bloom and Hilary become friends at the beach one holiday. Lyrics from the hit song, Wind Beneath My Wings, the theme song of Beaches, pretty much sums up the feeling that Hilary (Barbara Hershey) has for C.C. Bloom (Bette Midler) when they are adults. “You were content to let me shine, that’s your way, You always walked a step behind,” sings Midler.
Beaches is about enduring friendship, a rather serious subject, but one admires from personal experience or from afar, all done with a rather sentimental flavor that warms you up for a healthy dose of emotion by the end.
But this is an unbelievable friendship between a rich, sensible girl and a poor, boisterous girl. Fluffy pen pal correspondence and Hilary surprisingly dropping into CC’s life suddenly seems unconvincing.
The scenario is, however, portrayed as ‘real life’, where there are high hopes and love between friends, and broken marriages and infidelities. Occasionally, I think a seriously foul word went past, but I can’t remember for sure and Garry’s Marshall’s direction could have done with more of a polish in more ways than one.
Midler and Hershey do their stuff well. Midler has the soft and gentle facial features that makes whatever she says palatable. When she does sentimental, this is more than a performance. She is genuine and sincere; the humanity she carries is plainly obvious.
It was an implausible connection between two people from different sides of the neighborhood, but then is more believable as the film goes on. Hilary and CC weave their way into your system.