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The Prince of Tides is an exceptional movie! It is filled with emotion, humor, adventure, and pathos. Nick Nolte is the heart of the film. He is a broken man, covering up for the past, trying to please his family, but unable to open up and absolve himself of the dysfunction of his past life. He travels to New York to try to help his sister by uncovering what he has been hiding, with the help of a psychiatrist (Barbra Streisand). He is enchanted with her, and is therefore able to open up and reveal the secrets deep within his heart. The emotions that Nick is able to impart to his audience is a joy to see. I learn more about him every time I view this movie. He is a versatile actor and is truly underrated. He DEFINITELY deserved the Oscar for best actor for this difficult role. Barbra Streisand was fantastic as the psychiatrist who had her own secrets, and her son Jason was terrific as the rebellious son who wanted to please his father, but who needed to find himself by taking on the challenge of playing football. I never tire of this movie, and each time I view it, I get more out of it. The "Prince of Tides" has everything I want in a movie, and if I were to rate it, I would give it 4 stars.
I have seen this movie many times and it always holds me. Its rhythm,
cinematography and casting is perfect and the story never fails to
Tom Wingo, played by Nolte in an all-time best for him, has to go to New York to help his twin sister, Savannah Wingo, played by Melinda Dillon who has attempted suicide for the umpteenth time. Tom is aware there are ghosts in the family but wants to keep them submerged. However with the love for his sister and the encouragement of her psychiatrist, Lowenstein, played by Streisand, the truth begins to unfold along with a love between Lowenstein and Tom who are both in unhappy marriages.
There are no easy solutions here to the many issues that are raised, suffice is to say that Streisand, who also directs, keeps a gentle hand in and does not wham home any major emotional points. George Carlin is deft in a minor role, as is Blythe Danner as Tom's wife. The film never fails to pack a punch for me.
9 out of 10. Kudos to all, not a false note.
I avoided this movie because I did not care to see a romance involving Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte. When we finally rented the movie, it turned out to be so, so much more. An incredibly intense film. I was never of fan of Nolte, but what a tremendous performance! It moves me to tears every time I watch this film. I am amazed the IMD reviewers give it such a low rating.
The movie should have focused solely on the psychological make-up of the
Nick Nolte character, Tom, or of his mother. Instead we gets tons of the
usual New Yorker vs. Southerner dialogue, a silly romance between Nick and
Barbra which serves no purpose, a pointless interaction of Tom with
Lowenstein's son. The childhood events of Tom and his family were so intense
that the secondary plots were fluff. On top of that, the "yelling" school of
acting was sometimes employed. When you can't think of any good dialogue,
simple have the actor rant and rave loudly way out of proportion to the
issue discussed. Exactly what made Tom lose and gain back interest in his
loving family was really important but not really explained.
I'm afraid Streisand's overblown ego defeats this film. Taking what is essentially over-ripe Tennessee William's material, this may have had possibilities. But Streisand's character (and especially the director's fawning to her character (no surprise, since she directed it) makes this an ego journey of immense proportions. I don't know how Nolte survived this and how he crafted such a magnificent performance. I don't know how he managed to mutter the film's last lines ("Lowenstein, Lowenstein.") without breaking into laughter. (My guess...liquor and multiple takes.) Streisand as a performer needed someone to fetter her (she can give good performances when restrained.) Streisand the director needed to keep from falling in love with Lowenstein. (She did very well with the opening...except the titles and cast lists interfered with the story.) At the end, the only impression left is an unsubtle argument for Streisand's greatness. An argument that fails to persuade.
Streisand directed Prince Of Tides in'91, and was not honored by the Oscars with a nomination for Best Director;. fortunately the Directors Guild and Golden Globes did not ignore her, and the film. Beautifully directed, acted, scored and phtographed, it deserved all the praise it has received. Some fans of the book were disappointed because so much was deleted.. true, maybe should have been or will someday be a mini series... but Streisand and Conroy, caught the heart of the book, the dysfunctional family.. and the problems that emerged in future generations; Nolte was excellent as was Kate Nelligan... see it again and again, Brava Babs !!
Throughout the 80s and 90s, Barbra Streisand has grown in stature (albeit
sporadically) as a formidable producer and director of social drama for both
films and TV. The apex of her behind-the-camera career came with "The
Prince of Tides," a poignant study of a man coping with the long-term
effects of childhood trauma. Streisand nurtures this pet project from start
to finish (co-adapted by Pat Conroy from his epic novel), finding a precise
heartbeat for the profoundly sentient piece. Despite a rather protracted
love story and one too many climaxes, Streisand, who also co-stars, never
loses sight of the novel's primary intent.
Streisand graciously hands the spotlight over to actor Nick Nolte, who gives the most sensitive, emotionally complex performance of his varied career. Tom Wingo is a walking shell of a man who quells his pain with a drink, an easy smile, a cleverly foul remark, and a bitter, uncontrollable outpouring of anger. A one-time Southern-bred football coach-turned-teacher, he has grown increasingly irresponsible and disconnected over the years. With a troubled marriage hovering over him, he conveniently heads off to New York City at the urging of sister Savannah's psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein, following his twin's most recent wrist-slashing attempt. His purpose is to fill in the missing details of her tormented past (she has blotted out all childhood memories) in order to help steer the psychiatrist in her recovery process. Eventually, Tom, who lacks faith in psychiatry, finds himself facing his own demons as these initial discussions about Savannah take a suddenly dramatic and romantic turn.
In addition to Nolte's Oscar-nominated showcase, much of the film's strength lies in the highly concentrated flashback sequences as Tom recalls his turbulent family life. Kate Nelligan (also Oscar-nominated) is simply extraordinary as Lila, Tom's brittle, often callous mother, who quite understandably vows to remarry into money after surviving a horrific first marriage to Tom's violent, alcoholic, dirt-poor father (played by an absolutely terrifying Brad Sullivan). Nelligan grabs this role literally by the throat and allows her character no apologies for her flawed, self-serving logic, despite the effects it would have on her children, as her wealthy second husband starts exhibiting the same abusive traits as the first. Kudos must also go to the three strong young actors who play the Wingo siblings as children for reenacting the more horrific elements of this story.
Some of the other present-day roles, however, are hit-and-miss in their effectiveness. Blythe Danner has some strained though affecting moments as Tom's neglected wife. Sadly, the vital role of Savannah is nearly excised from the film. What with the talented Melinda Dillon egregiously reduced to such an insignificant extra, one can only rue the dramatic potential untapped here. As Savannah's neighbor and trusted friend, George Carlin seems to be around merely to show off New York gay chic -- providing mild amusement, a bit of pathos, and little else. On a brighter note, Jason Gould (Barbra's real-life son) acquits himself surprisingly well in the difficult role of Lowenstein's antagonistic son who slowly bonds with Tom's absentee father figure -- showing for once that nepotism isn't necessarily blind or reckless. Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbé gets brief but noticeable exposure as Herbert Woodruff, Lowenstein's charming, smug-elegant husband, a renown concert violinist who demonstrates more affection for his Stradivarius than either his wife or child. There is one telling dinner scene at his opulent Manhattan high-rise in which the out-classed Wingo gets to put Woodruff in his place.
As for Streisand herself, many will invariably take her to task for casting herself in the fundamental role of Susan Lowenstein. A star of such magnitude always faces the daunting task of presenting a fully- realized character, and Streisand is only marginally successful here. Although there is undeniable sexual chemistry between her and Nolte, it's hard to overlook her somewhat glossy approach to the role and the unethical intentions of her character. One can only imagine the ramifications of such a harmful act had her suicidal patient ever uncovered the illicit affair between her brother and psychiatrist.
Director Streisand, however, must be applauded for her explicit attention to exterior details. A visually resplendent picture, great care was taken to get the right look and feel. Notice particularly the lovely allegorical scenes with the children at the beginning and end. And with Streisand's exceptional musicianship, it is hardly surprising that James Newton Howard's lush score is one of the most beautifully designed ever (in fact, I borrowed it for my own commitment ceremony in 1996). It floods the film with an unexpressible tenderness. Nick Nolte's bookend narration is perfect as well -- warm, wise, poetic and reflective.
And so, despite the flaws "The Prince of Tides" may have, Streisand certainly shows that her heart was in the right place.
Barbra Streisand's visual presentation of Pat Conroy's novel is excellent! I never expected a film under her direction to be this great and very expressive. Nick Nolte's acting is excellent and I can't think of any actor who can play his role as Tom. For those of you who never seen this film, The Prince of Tides is a drama that tackles family, time and emotions. The film is indeed a great imitation of life!
I personally really like Barbra Streisand, and I think that this is a very good movie, even if not particularly for her own presence. The story is touchy and involving. The screenplay is well written and never exaggerated or out of track. Even the final cliché of the two main characters falling in love with each other is pretty well portrayed. Probably because it doesn't just happen during the final-five-minute-scene, but is developed enough to make it believable and not ridiculous. The soundtrack, by James Newton Howard, is lovely and really fulfills and underlines the whole movie. Technically, the finest work is done by the cinematography, which is warm and wrapping. The entire cast is good, especially Nick Nolte, who is very believable and delivers a great performance. Barbra Streisand is great behind the camera but only good in front of it. Playing the role of a rich, sophisticated, and independent woman she is kind of playing herself. Indeed, she is at her best when she doesn't have to deliver any line. Unarguably, because her charming presence by itself is enough to fill up the entire screen. She was probably too busy worrying about the way she looked than anything else. This probably wouldn't have happened if someone else were directing her. But then again, in that case we probably wouldn't have enjoyed her sweet and profound point of view.
This is a poignant movie done with the usual excellence that Barbra Streisand is known for, both in subject matter and acting ability. Nick Nolte manages to convey both the recipient and the facilitator of the healing process with depth and believability. Their chemistry is challenging and enjoyable to watch. Some of the scenes that depict early memories may be dangerous trigger points for people who are still in the healing process, but they are handled with care and a gentle touch. This movie will help you believe that healing can become a reality in your life, if only you are willing to do the work. It helps those that are in pain reach for that place where peace exists. I would recommend this movie to anyone that is in the healing process, as well as to anyone who simply enjoys a well-constructed drama with plenty of humor thrown in for good measure. This movie will make you think, and it will help you heal. An excellent movie - one that I now own in my movie library. See this movie!
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