Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
The path of Francesca Johnson's future seems destined when an unexpected fork in the road causes her to question everything she had come to expect from life. While her husband and children are away at the Illinois state fair in the summer of 1965, Robert Kincaid happens turn into the Johnson farm and asks Francesca for directions to Roseman Bridge. Francesca later learns that he was in Iowa on assignment from National Geographic magazine. She is reluctant seeing that he's a complete stranger and then she agrees to show him to the bridges and gradually she talks about her life from being a war-bride from Italy which sets the pace for this bittersweet and all-too-brief romance of her life. Through the pain of separation from her secret love and the stark isolation she feels as the details of her life consume her, she writes her thoughts of the four-day love affair which took up three journals. The journals are found by her children after the lawyer was going over Francesca's will and ... Written by
Mark Fleetwood <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I admire the likes of Woody Allen, Chaplin and Clint Eastwood (just to name a few), who possess(ed) the chops to write, direct AND act. They're complete artists, and I wish I could be like that (I'll be already too happy if I can ever achieve my life passion of writing and directing, though, since my acting would be less convincing than Owen Wilson playing Hamlet).
Even though Eastwood didn't write this (Richard LaGravenese did it beautifully, based on a novel by Robert James Waller), he does a good job in front of the camera while also directing this human encounter between a photographer (played by himself) and an Italian housewife (Meryl Streep, magnificent) in 1960s Iowa. Their four days together would change their lives forever.
The premise doesn't sound too original, but Eastwood wonderfully captures all the raw emotions between these people, who seem throughly genuine, alive, and passionate. Lennie Niehaus' beautiful music score helps enhance the romantic atmosphere, and the slow pace is never a bore since it's necessary to make you live those brief but special moments with them. From westerns to female boxers to jazz musicians to war dramas, Clint Eastwood knows how to tell a good story, and "The Bridges of Madison County" ranks among his best. 10/10.
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