When the New York child performer CC Bloom and San Francisco rich kid Hillary meet in a holiday resort in Atlantic City, it marks the start of a lifetime friendship between them. The two keep in touch through letters for a number of years until Hillary, now a successful lawyer moves to New York to stay with struggling singer CC. The movie shows the various stages of their friendship and their romances including their love for the same man.
A privileged rich debutante and a cynical struggling entertainer share a turbulent, but strong childhood friendship over the years.
- When C.C. Bloom (Bette Midler) and Hilary Whitney (Barbara Hershey) meet in Atlantic City at age 11, it is a recipe for eternal friendship. C.C. is a child performer who feels cramped by her braggart mother and Hilary is a rich kid who has every luxury she could ever desire. When the two are parted, they promise to write, and do, for many years, exposing to each other their innermost thoughts, dreams, and desires. C.C. grows up to be a performer, and Hilary goes to law school. One day, Hilary shows up in New York after walking out of her rigid, planned life, and joins C.C. in a poor existence, with only their friendship and love to keep them warm. After meeting a promising stage director, C.C. gets a job as an actress. She begins to fall for her new director, but alas, he has fallen for the lovely and poised Hilary. After C.C.'s big musical debut, Hilary and John (John Heard) spend the night together, causing the first real fight between the two best friends. They barely have a chance to make up when Hilary is summoned to San Francisco to care for her ailing father. While there, she meets a proper young gentleman who is like a son to her father, and falls in love. Meanwhile, C.C. and John have begun to spend more time together, causing the director to realize that there is more to C.C. than just raw talent. Hilary and her new fellow, Michael Essex (James Read) get married after the death of Hilary's father, prompting C.C. to propose to John. When C.C. opens her first big Broadway show, a raunchy production about boobs and brazierres, Hilary and Michael come to New York for opening night. When the two couples get together after the show, the girls realize how much has changed between the two of them. After a huge fight a Bergdorf's, they part ways, each wondering what they will do now without a best friend. Time passes, and C.C.'s letters keep getting returned unread by Hilary. C.C. and John part ways because they cannot give each other what the other wants or needs, and C.C. gets a job singing in a sleazy nightclub. Meanwhile, Hilary comes home from a weekend at the beach house to find Michael schmoozing with another woman. She leaves him and goes looking for C.C. When she finds her, she admits her jealousy of C.C., and C.C. figures out that she loves Hilary even more than she loves herself. She also discovers that Hilary is three months pregnant. The two friends stay together, taking care of one another, and preparing for the baby, when C.C. meets Hilary's obstetrician and the two fall in love. They plan to get married, but a big part comes available for C.C. and she leaves him and the pregnant Hilary high and dry. She does return for the birth of Hilary's beautiful daughter, Victoria Cecilia (Grace Johnston). C.C. goes on to more fortune and fame, becoming a fabulous and much sought after recording artist, and Hilary continues mothering and practicing law. When Hilary gets sick with viral cardio myopathy, C.C. steps up to help care for her best friend. Through the care, the two rediscover their love for each other and the true meaning of everlasting friendship. When Hilary dies, C.C. is left with the care of Victoria, and she takes her in and begins by telling her the story of how she and Hilary met as children.