The Bidges of Madison County - a review

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  • P-Dub
    Office Moderator
    • Aug 2000
    • 6766

    The Bidges of Madison County - a review

    We start the movie in the present, as the children of Francesca Johnson gather to go through the her will. They come upon a secret and it brings us to the main story.

    The story is about a rural farm wife Francesca Johnson, played by Meryl Streep and her brief encounter with a photographer Robert Kincaid, played by Clint Eastwood. These two actors basically dominate the screen time, and that's a good thing as I was totally mesmerized, by Meryl Streep's performance. Francesca's husband and 2 childeren are off to a fair to show their prize steer, as Robert drives by looking for directions to Rosamunde Bridge, one of the many covered bridges in Iowa.

    What I found so amazing about this movie was the little details that Meryl Streep brought to the character, or maybe that was already written, or maybe it was the direction from Clint, whatever it was, she was quite convicing. In the first few scenes, Francesca is an Italian wife of a farmer and two teenage children. She's the one that looks after the house and does all the cooking. We see here preparing a meal and listening to some opera. Enter the childeren who change the radio station, and lets the screen door slam the door behind them. The request to say grace at dinner is oblidged by young Carolyn by bowing her head and saying "Grace". Now in that one scene, the stage is set, you can see that Francesca in not the most happiest of mothers, but yet these are teenagers. As they set off for the fair, the one stuck dresser drawn that hubby can't open is deftly solved by Franie, "You can't get angry at it."

    Francesca now has the next 4 days to herself. Freedom to do what she wants and when she wants. And then enters Robert Kincaid. What we really see is Francesca being able to express herself, saying what she thinks and truely living.

    Also it is a 4-hankie movie, so if you are watching it with the ladies, better have the tissues handy and snuggle close.

    Now on to the DVD. As great as this movie is, the DVD is a disappointment. It is a MARed version of the OAR 1.85 and is nonanamporphic. I noticed some dust in some scenes, but it wasn't too distracting. There was one critical scene that made me go "ARRGGGH!" as the pan and scan worked it's dispicable hack job. Most of the other times, the hack job didn't detract too much from the actors, but I would love to see this movie restored to a nice anamporphic 1.85.

    The audio at least was in Digital 5.1 and there were some nice scenes with some thunder rolling in and rain from the surrounds. As this is mainly a dialoge centered movie, most of the sound stage is focused up front. There are some moving meldodies and they use the surrounds effectively.

    So bottom line, great movie but MARed by the presentation on DVD.

    I viewed this at friends house and his sytems is as follows:

    TV: Sony 61" RPTV
    Rec: Denon 1600
    DVD: Toshiba 3109
    Speakers: Paradigm Atoms and CC-70
    Sub: Paradigm PDR-10, I think


    There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.

    There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.
  • George Bellefontaine
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Jan 2001
    • 7637

    I remember seeing this. But to be honest, my wife liked this more than I did. Hopeless love stories just aren't my thing, even if ol' Clint diretcted and starred.

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    • John Holmes
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Aug 2000
      • 2703

      Nice review Paul.

      I'm like george on the tear jerkers however, I usually enjoy them for the first viewing.

      Though I haven't seen "The Bridges of Madison County", I have viewed (Hope Floats, The Wedding Planner, What Dreams May Come, Dr T and the Women, can't recall the name of the one from last year with Mel Gibson and Helen was good though) and a few others.

      The love storys that keep me coming back are those that have great comedy or the supernatural/sci-fi by story.

      I rambled to say, I'll add this to my Netflix queue for viewing.

      "I came here, to chew bubble gum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubble gum!!!" My DVD's
      "I have come here, to chew bubblegum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubblegum!!!"


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