Kidnapped boy Phillip Perry (T.J. Lowther) strikes up a friendship with his captor Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner): an escaped convict on the run from the law, while the search is headed up by honorable Texas Ranger "Red" Garrett (Clint Eastwood).
The path of Francesca Johnson's (Meryl Streep'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 (Clint Eastwood) happens to 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 ...Written by
Mark Fleetwood <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Cedar Bridge, where Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) met Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood), was destroyed in a fire on September 3, 2002. See more »
After Francesca's husband and children return from the Illinois State Fair, her husband indicates it took them about 3 1/2 hours to drive back. That would barely get them from Madison County to the Illinois border. The Illinois State Fair is held exactly 374.28 miles from Madison County, at least a 5+hour drive in 1965. See more »
Robert, please. You don't understand, no-one does. When a woman makes the choice to marry, to have children; in one way her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details. You become a mother, a wife and you stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave they take your life of details with them. And then you're expected move again only you don't remember what moves you because no-one has asked in so long. Not even yourself. You never in your life ...
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This is an understated romanctic film. This is probably down to the competent directing from Eastwood, and the exceptional acting ability of Streep, which she executes without much effort - at least it appears that way! Streep's character, Francesca, who is somewhat of a dreamer, was in search of an illusionary life, which was unobtainable, mainly because it only existed inside her head of fantasies. Indeed, the fantasy of the romance is only her interpretation of it via her journals. In reality, her romantic interlude would have turned sour because it would not live up to her expectations in everyday life, just as her idea of the American way of life didn't, being married to an ordinary farming lad.
As an Italian homemaker, Francesca is stereotyped from the start as the opera loving romantic, cooking breakfast for a largely unappreciative family in a mundane world, which she once viewed through rose tinted spectacles, whilst daydreaming back home in Italy.
The film's message is that romance can be deceptive, in that it misleads women into mundane lives that bear no reality to what they have been taught about it. But, women who crave romance, should demand it, and not be afraid to ask for it, or to admit to liking it for that matter. This is what Francesca should have done with her husband.
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