Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scorp's Favorites - 2 - Bridges of Madison County

During my school days, there was a tabloid in Tamil – the first ever – called ‘Junior Post’ from the Vikatan group of magazines. It was a very interesting magazine with a lot of entertainment news – about English movies and many other things. Every week, a new English movie will be reviewed. Once, cartoonist Madan wrote a column for 3-4 weeks about a movie he saw. The article was so wonderful and romantic that I remembered the story all through the years (but I forgot the name of the film) till 3 years ago when I was casually browsing through Clint Eastwood’s movies in IMDB, accidentally found out the movie name! Yes. It was ‘Bridges of Madison County’.

As soon as I found about the movie, the story started to flow through my mind and I instantly remembered about the tabloid and the time when I read the story. I immediately told about the movie to my friend Balu and we started to search for the film. Those days, we use to visit Win videos in Thadagam road (near milk society) to rent movies. We used to see 3 to 4 movies a week. So we informed the shop owner about the movie and after a while found it out in Music gallery and the owner bought the movie. We rented it.

I was exited like hell just to see the movie wrapper. That night, while watching the movie, the feel was like what we experience after a romantic walk with the girl of our life in a long road with fir trees on both sides. The aroma of the movie still lingers inside my mind and whenever I think about it, it gives me such an immense pleasure.

Robert James Waller – the man who wrote the novel. Waller is a photographer too, and he has quoted that the main character of the novel holds strong similarities with himself.

Bridges of Madison County was released in 1992 in the form of a novel and it got an overwhelming response that it became one of the best selling books of the twentieth century – over 50 million copies sold worldwide – clearly a novel which has captured the hearts of all the romantic lovers worldwide.

Now, before moving in to the review, close your eyes. Switch off the computer. Switch off all the lights. Pick the romantic songs which you love the most, and play them in sequence in your cell phone or the iPod. Think about the one man or a woman in your life who means a lot to you – any woman or a man you would’ve loved. It might be your husband or your wife, and might be someone else too - the person whom you loved with all your heart. Experience the fragrance of the sweet memories of the days which you both were flying along in the sky of everlasting romance.

Okay. How did it feel like? Heaven, isn’t it? Now, grab the DVD and play it. Watch it with the same mood, and I am sure you will again experience the same kinda emotion.

It’s 1965. Francesca, a middle aged housewife, living alone in her house as her husband and her two children have gone to the state fair, is casually hearing music and cooking while she hears the horn of a car. She comes out, and there comes a car to her door. We see Robert Kincaid, a photographer from National Geographic, searching for a particular bridge to take a few photographs of it. He had apparently lost his way, and he enquires about the route, to Francesca. Somehow, she is attracted to this guy, and she feels like being herself when this guy is around. She says she will show him the route and he gives her a lift.

While on the way, they learn about each other. Kincaid tells her the name of an Italian village which he loved the most while photographing, and Francesca is astonished – it’s her native village which mostly no one has heard of including her husband. Kincaid shows interest in listening to Francesca unlike her husband, and she feels livelier. She feels young, and is much happier. She tells in her diary which she wrote after the incident - “And in that moment, everything I knew to be true about myself up until then was gone. I was acting like another woman, yet I was more myself than ever before”

They reach the bridge, and Kincaid begins photographing it, while Francesca casually strolls around. Kincaid takes a few snaps of Francesca. They both return to Francesca’s home. They both talk about various things like the places Kincaid has visited, his divorced marriage life, Francesca’s interests and many more things. Slowly, they both realize that it is for this moment that they have lived all these years of their lives – to meet at this place and to fall in love.

They spend four days together in the Madison County. While at the end, Kincaid asks Francesca to come with him, so that she can live her own life, like an free bird.

But Francesca denies the offer. She tells 

Francesca: ‘Robert, please. You don't understand, no-one does. When a woman makes the choice to marry, to have children; in one way her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details. You become a mother, a wife and you stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave they take your life of details with them. And then you're expected move again only you don't remember what moves you because no-one has asked in so long. Not even yourself. You never in your life think that love like this can happen to you’

Robert Kincaid: ‘But now that you have it... ‘

Francesca: ‘I want to keep it forever. I want to love you the way I do now the rest of my life. Don't you understand... we'll lose it if we leave. I can't make an entire life disappear to start a new one. All I can do is try to hold onto to both. Help me. Help me not lose loving you’

Kincaid understands that she has no other options except to stay with her family. So, he leaves Francesca. Her husband and kids come home. The next day, Francesca and her husband go shopping, and while they return to their car, in pouring rain, Francesca sees Kincaid walking towards their car. But Kincaid stops suddenly and returns to his car. Francesca sees Kincaid’s car just ahead of their car, and Kincaid hangs the locket Francesca gave to him on his mirror. Tears flow down her cheeks, and Francesca knows that it’s the last ever time she is gonna see Kincaid. She even pushes hard on the door knob, but understands the reality and stays inside. The cars stop at a traffic signal, and even when the lights are green, Kincaid’s car refuses to move. He is looking at Francesca from his mirror. Francesca silently is crying, and her husband thinks it’s some sort of a headache. He honks his horn repeatedly, and slowly, we see Kincaid’s car moving forward. Suddenly, with a jerk, the car speeds away in the road, and with it, Francesca’s lively heart moves away from her.

Here is the Youtube link of this fantastic scene -

They both never meet again. One day, after many years, Francesca receives a parcel. In that, there are the pics taken during Kincaid’s visit earlier, and the letter says Kincaid is dead. Francesca had written everything about the four days she shared with Kincaid in her journals, and after her death, her son and daughter read the journal and understand everything about her mother’s life. As per her wish, her body is cremated and the ashes thrown from the Bridge of Madison County, where she experienced the livelier part of herself, for the first and the last time, ever.

Bridges of Madison County is a film which flows like a silent river, and just by looking at it makes us to feel calm and peaceful. A movie which will rekindle the long lost memories of the people whom we loved.

To be frank, I didn’t expect such a film from Clint Eastwood. He is a talented film maker – accepted. But, for him to give such a romantic classic, it’s miraculous indeed. Client Eastwood has acted as Robert Kincaid himself, and Meryl Streep as the lovely Francesca. She was nominated for the best actress in the academy awards.

Life is full of emotional moments. We might want to forget about certain incidents, but those incidents remain for long in our minds. Try seeing Bridges of Madison County. Before seeing, read the novel.

Feels great to write about this movie – one of the films which I’d love to carry with me when I’m deserted in an island.

See the trailer here.

PS:- Most of the screenshots were taken from I thank the blogger for the superb work.


King Viswa said...

Hey Scorp,

My memory must be falling, 'Cos i couldn't remember the Local Movie that was inspired by this one (Tamil/Telugu).

Can you remember?

King Viswa.
Carpe Diem.
50th Special ComiPost

The S c o r p said...

Well, I don remember the tamil film, but in Hindi, 'Kabhie Alwida Naa Kehna' is an inspiration.. Will try to gather data about the Tamil film.. :)

Venky said...

This was one of the best romantic movies I ever watched. What a movie. Unforgettable. You're spot on when you described the mood that this movie takes us into. :)

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