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Mr. & Mrs. Bridge (1990) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • It's about a five member family. The father is a conservative and traditional person who directs the family. The mother is at home, she tries to hold together the family, while Mr. Bridge works as a lawyer. The children have just grown up, and the complications are derived from that they have a more modern view of life.

  • Set during World War II, an upper-class family begins to fall apart due to the conservative nature of the patriarch and the progressive values of his children.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Walter and India Bridge are a married couple in late middle age living in Kansas City during the 1930s. Because he is a successful lawyer, they live relatively well, and India enjoys the freedoms of being a socialite housewife with grown kids.

    India does lament to Walter that he does not really know her, and he is conflicted about their oldest daughter Ruth becoming sexually active. One night he catches her making love on the living room floor, and thereafter he relents to let her move to New York City, for which he will provide her $1,000.

    The film proceeds through a series of other episodes in their lives that have little evident consequence. For instance, their son Doug becomes an Eagle Scout, and noticeably does not thank his mother at the ceremony. Thereafter, nothing is mentioned about this painfully awkward rebuke.

    Walter and India ride out a severe storm in a restaurant, during which he tells her of his plan to travel to Europe together. When they go on the trip, they see a lot of beautiful artwork, and they go to arousing can can shows that make Walter rather passionate toward India. Alas, after he buys her a reproduction of a painting she loves, the Nazis invade Poland and the war begins.

    Back at home one day later, India discovers a pin-up girly magazine in Dougs room. In response, she quietly gives him an old marriage manual, saying nothing.

    One day the Bridges daughter Carolyn tells Walter that she is engaged to a local man. Walter is furiously resistant, but later the fiancé makes quite a forceful appeal to Walter and he relents, allowing the wedding to take place at the family home.

    One night Walters secretary asks to have a drink with him after work. She makes clear that she has repressed an attraction to him for the 20 years he has been her boss, and becomes emotionally upset. Walter shows certain discomfort but otherwise does not respond to her and tells her to take a few days off.

    One day Walter and India review some of the family stock holdings and insurance policies in a safe deposit vault at a bank. She asks him to tell her he loves her once in a while.

    One day Walter tells Doug that he has heart problems, and if he dies, India may depend on him.

    One day Indias friend Grace seems to be having mental problems, prompting India to ask Walter if she should try psychoanalysis. Walter dismisses the idea as foolish, telling India that she can just talk to him about her problems, or feel better by buying a new car.

    One day Carolyn laments that she is unhappy in her marriage, and India tries to console her. This motivates Carolyn to tell India that she thinks her father dominates her mother too much.

    After further concern about Grace, one day she dies from an apparent drug overdose. India is devastated, but Walter suggests it was inevitable.

    One day India tries to back her car out of the garage and it stalls between the doors, leaving her trapped. She turns off the engine and calmly waits for help despite an encroaching snowstorm. With her situation unbeknownst to Walter, he buys her flowers on the way home. When a local sees this, he suggests that Walter needs to celebrate more joy in his life. Walter flatly responds, I have known contentment.

    Indicating the simple contentment and lack of substantive drama in their lives, the end credits roll over home movies of the family, with captions revealing how they continued. The lives of Mr. and Mrs. Bridge did not become any more exciting: They went on as before for quite a few years.

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