The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) Poster

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Your Own Private Math Party
bkoganbing10 January 2008
The Mirror Has Two Faces is one of those old fashioned romance stories, in which Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges prove that love can be had in middle age and romance might even be better at that point.

Both Streisand and Bridges are a pair of Columbia University professors, she of English, him of Mathematics. They've come to opposite conclusions about life and love. Barbra wants some love in her life, but Bridges having been burned a little too often in relationships is swearing off sex.

I like what director Streisand did with Bridges's character. I can identify with the students in his class, you spell it B-O-R-I-N-G. There are some people who are turned on by math, I'm not one of them. I sat through too many teachers who could not pique my interest in the slightest and many who were like Bridges as Barbra describes him, having his own math party at the blackboard. No one ever made it relevant for me in my academic career.

Barbra didn't do too bad with the rest of the cast which includes her mother Lauren Bacall, her sister Mimi Rogers, her wolfish brother-in-law Pierce Brosnan, best friend Brenda Vaccaro, and Bridges best friend George Segal who is a cheerful middle aged hedonist and loving every minute of it.

Lauren Bacall got her one Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and I thought sure she would cap her career with that Oscar. She lost to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient. But Bacall is absolutely stunning as the mother who Barbra convinces that her life isn't over either.

For the acclaim it got, The Mirror Has Two Faces should have gotten a lot more, including a Best Director nomination for Barbra Streisand. And this review is dedicated to all of us who had to sit through a boring professor having his own private math party at the blackboard.
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make over
SnoopyStyle19 December 2016
Gregory Larkin (Jeff Bridges) is a math professor at Columbia. His students are bored. He is always distracted by beautiful women. His ex Candy shows up for his book signing and he is completely flustered. He asks adult phone sex operator Felicia for advise and he puts up a personal ad with "Physical appearance not important!". Rose Morgan (Barbra Streisand) is an ugly duckling, Yankees fan, and English Lit professor at Columbia. Her beautiful sister Claire (Mimi Rogers) marries her ex Alex (Pierce Brosnan) whom she still holds a flame for. Their mother Hannah Morgan (Lauren Bacall) is inappropriate and pushy. Claire answers the ad for Rose. Gregory finds her intelligence and lack of sex appeal perfect for him.

Their relationship is cute and Rose's struggling sexual desire is funny. I don't really buy Rose completely as an ugly duckling but the movie is filled with pretty girls and she's ugly by comparison. The first half is a mildly amusing romantic comedy. Then the flow cracks with the big blow up. The amusing little romance takes on some ugliness. Neither characters come off well from the conflict. Both become less appealing and so does the movie. The only fun part of the post break-up is Rose's students seeing her new look. This is a rom-com that doesn't quite fit the formula and suffers from it.
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Kirpianuscus29 January 2017
first - for the cast. then - for the old flavor of story, who reminds bitter-sweet romantic films from "50. not the last - for Barbra Streisand impeccable job as director and actress. and, not insignificant detail, for the chemistry between Barbra and Jeff Bridges. sure, nothing new. a classic story of middle-age love, bitter, naive, full of mistakes, coincidences, broken relation and fireworks. or one of chick flicks who seems different for the virtue to have actors who know do an impeccable job. for me, the presence of Lauren Bacall is the most precious detail. and, sure, as second pillar for a film who shows perfect architecture, George Segal. a film with the virtues of hot chocolate in a rainy afternoon.
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The Mirror Has Two Faces
jboothmillard9 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I don't understand the meaning of the title, although the leading actress did look in the mirror quite a bit, anyway, what appealed to me about seeing this film was a good cast, and the fact that produced and directed by Barbra Streisand. Basically college professor Gregory Larkin (Jeff Bridges) has been let down with sexual relationships many times, and places a personal advert to find a woman companion, only condition a good knowledge of something, and he has no care of looks and (although they wouldn't know) no sex appeal or interest. Then he meets plain English literature professor Rose Morgan (Golden Globe nominated Streisand), after her sister Claire (Mimi Rogers) answers the personal ad. For a long while it seems they both have the same opinions of how sex and true love can complicate a good relationship, and they eventually marry not for true love or sex, but just a good companionship. Of course Rose is getting very bored, and starts to get desperate for sex, and even though Gregory might be the same (slightly) he backs away from the opportunity. For a while, they split and she tries her chances with a man she once loved (and probably vice versa) before he married Claire, Alex (Pierce Brosnan). When that doesn't work she decides to change her image to be more appealing to herself and others, of course when Gregory sees he is quite shocked, but don't worry, he sees he has true feeling for her as well. Also starring Golden Globe winning, and Oscar and BAFTA nominated Lauren Bacall as Hannah Morgan, George Segal as Henry Fine, Brenda Vaccaro as Doris, Austin Pendleton as Barry and Elle Macpherson as Candice. There are a couple of giggly moments, and the cast of a few good stars kept me interested, but it did have its many moments of pure cheesiness, but still worth watching. The Oscar and Golden Globe nominated song "I Finally Found Someone" by Streisand and Bryan Adams in the end credits is good, if only Streisand and Bridges weren't doing a long dance in the streets. It was nominated the Golden Globe for Best Original Score for Marvin Hamlisch. Worth watching!
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Streisand wants to be sure we don't miss a trick--but I missed the "Ugly Ducking" Babs...
moonspinner5514 May 2006
College professor Rose--bubbly, amiable, but dowdy--enters into a sexless marriage with another teacher; she attempts to seduce her celibate hubby, cries when he rejects her (ostensibly because she's unattractive), but eventually becomes gorgeous with some Zen-like wisdom (and a make-over). Remake of an obscure 1958 French drama, "The Mirror Has Two Faces", directed by star Barbra Streisand, emphasizes its points about inner beauty to the nth degree. Barbra underlines everything--either with a shot too many or with BLARING romantic music--but when Rose makes her transformation, the whole center of the picture slips away (and the main characters never regain their balance). A much more telling story would've started where this picture actually ends. Don't give us kisses in the street after two hours of yammering about the short shelf-life of modern romance. ** from ****
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No sex please, we are intellectuals!
jotix10019 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Incredible as it seems, "The Mirror Has Two Faces" is based on a French film of 1958 directed by Andre Cayatte, something the creators acknowledge in the credits. The American version has nothing much in common with the Gallic model. The great Michelle Morgan was the star of the original, in which the viewer is asked to accept an ugly version of the radiant actress. Bourvil played the opposite lead.

This, being a Barbra Streisand project got a lavish production. Richard LaGravenese, wrote the adaptation to suit the talented Ms. Streisand, who had not attempted to direct anything after "The Prince of Tides", which came out in 1991. The vehicle was perfect for the star because in the film she is supposed to go from one of her kooky characters that she did so well, with a more serious side of her. The end result is a film that is pleasant, if a bit predictable.

Ms. Streisand plays Rose Morgan an English literature professor at Columbia University. She attracts the attention of Gregory Larkin, a mathematician, by the strength of her rapport with her students. Unknown to Rose, her sister Claire has decided to submit an ad in the personals as a way to find her a boyfriend. When the two finally meet, it's a match made in heaven. The only problem is that Greg does not believe in having sex, even the kind performed by a married couple.

Jeff Bridges plays Greg with flair with a good dose of chemistry between him and his co-star. Ms. Straisand does better during the first part of the film before it becomes more somber as Rose decides to leave Greg because there is nothing to hold them together. Lauren Bacall, Mimi Rogers, George Segal, Pierce Brosnan, Brenda Vaccaro, and Austin Pendleton are seen in the large supporting cast.

We remember the time when this film was shot in New York's Upper West Side where the filming went on for quite some time while the neighbors became angrier by the way the night schedule interfered with their daily routines. One certainly hope they might have enjoyed the looks of their area when the film was finally released!
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Babs in Love
evanston_dad16 June 2009
This mediocre romance was Barbra Streisand's announcement to the world that middle-aged people can fall in love too.

O.k., fair enough, I don't begrudge her the sentiment, but the film she made to express it is all soft. It exists mostly as a vanity project for Streisand, who goes from frump to glamour puss over the course of its two-hour running time. Jeff Bridges is always winning and likable, and so he is here as Streisand's love interest. His presence is almost enough to make up for the tired and generic theme song.

The film is probably most famous for NOT bringing Lauren Bacall a much-anticipated Oscar, which went instead to Juliette Binoche in one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.

Grade: C
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Mirror's Two Faces Are Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges.
anaconda-4065826 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996): Dir: Barbra Streisand / Cast: Barbra Streisand, Jeff Bridges, Lauren Bacall, Mimi Rogers, George Segal: Clever romantic comedy regarding relationships and our warped expectations. The two faces of the mirror could have a variety of meanings but the theme that emerges the strongest is the sex and marriage issue. Barbra Streisand removes sex to demonstrate the value of friendship. She plays a teacher who lives with her mother and is insecure with regards to her appearance. Jeff Bridges sits in on a teaching session and admires her methods. They strike up a friendship and agree that sex is ruining relationships. When they do marry the pressure of sex invades her. Intelligent film delivered with wit and humour by Streisand. She previously directed The Prince of Tides and Yentl. She plays a smart yet sympathetic woman of independence and insecurity. Jeff Bridges completes the chemistry as her husband. Strong supporting work by Lauren Bacall as Streisand's mother who brings comic wisdom. Mimi Rogers plays her sister whose husband was the sight of Streisand. Both roles are more or less comic placements yet portrayed with great care. Outside the leads, other roles are either brief or flat. While somewhat predictable it is still a wonderful portrait of relationships that make the mirror worth looking into. Score: 8 ½ / 10
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Loved the first half, hated the second half
HotToastyRag15 June 2018
The Mirror Has Two Faces is two movies rolled into one-which you might think fits the title perfectly, but it actually doesn't. I absolutely loved the first movie, but the second movie completely ruined my enjoyment.

In the first "face" of the mirror, Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges are both professors at the same college. They're both unlucky in love-those of you who think Jeff's a total hunk will have to use suspension of disbelief during this portion of the plot. One day, Jeff sits in on a lecture of Barbra's, and he's incredibly moved by her speech on why people pursue romance even though it's painful. They start seeing each other, but while he's just grateful for the companionship, she thinks there might be something more-and so does her mother, Lauren Bacall, who walks through her dramatic, caricature of a role. Then, Jeff proposes a platonic marriage, based on friendship not sex. End of the first movie.

I loved the Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy comedy Without Love, in which an unromantic scientist marries his assistant because they're great companions, not because they're crazy about each other. I'm a realist in romance and think it's infinitely more important to like who you're with than to love them. Jeff Bridge's proposal makes total sense to me! When Barbra tries to add romance into the mix, it ruins everything.

I realize I'm completely in the minority. Most people will probably love this romance, since most people have a completely unrealistic view of love. Most people would want someone they find enormously handsome-I've never forgiven Jeff Bridges for The Big Lebowski, so I was drooling over Pierce Brosnan in this movie-to fall in love with their insides and outsides, even if they aren't considered attractive, rarely doll up, and if attraction was taken off the table long ago. Go ahead and rent this movie if you fall into that camp. You'll probably really enjoy it. But if you invite me over for movie night, I'll take a long bathroom break during the second half of the movie.
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A Highly Entertaining film with Superb Performances...
namashi_125 March 2010
Partly Based on the 1958 French film Le Miroir à Deux Faces written by André Cayatte and Gérard Oury, which focused on a homely woman who becomes a beauty, which creates problems in her marriage. 'The Mirror Has Two Faces' is simple, sweet and a majorly entertaining film directed by the Legendary Barbra Streisand.

'The Mirror Has Two Faces' works big time, because it has a story to tell... a story that has it's share of WOW moments, no wonder this film was a box office super-hit during it's release way back 1996. With a running time of 126 minutes, here's a film we'll not forget for at least the next 2 decades!

Streisand's direction is perfect, so is her signing and her acting. An all-rounder! Jeff Bridges pitches in an Incredible performance. The Academy Award-Winning Actor never disappoints! Lauren Bacall is fantastic as Streisand's old and groovy mom. Pierce Brosnan is very okay, mainly because he gets nothing to do but stock his wife everywhere!

On the whole, 'The Mirror Has Two Faces' is a classic... Two Thumbs Up!
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Mirrors, Puccini, and the triumphant Ugly Duckling
theowinthrop6 November 2005
This was the third film directed and starring Barbara Streisand. It did get a whopping big two Oscar nominations for the best song and for best supporting actress (Lauren Bacall). Neither won. Ms Streisand hit the Oscar gold with best actress for FUNNY GIRL, and since then has met with indifferent success - and almost none with her three directed films.

This film is a modern spin on Hans Christian Anderson's tale of the Ugly Duckling. She is the "homely" daughter of Lauren Bacall, a beauty specialist, and her younger sister Mimi Rogers is also beautiful to look at. But Mimi has had two unsuccessful marriages, and is seen at the start having her third marriage - this time to Pierce Brosnan, who initially showed an interest in Streisand.

Throughout her entire life she has been having a low esteem problem regarding sex. She is seen breaking dates with Austin Pendleton. We learn her closest friend is Brenda Vaccaro, who has also failed to do well with men. Yet she is a highly articulate and intelligent English professor at Columbia University.

It is Columbia University where the other part of this equation is found. Jeff Bridges is a leading figure in the math department. He is finding it difficult to recover from repeated failed sexual relationships. So he puts an add in the newspaper requesting to meet a suitable mate. Mimi Rogers notices the ad, and puts in a response for Streisand. After watching Streisand handle her English class (far better than Bridges can handle his calculus course), he calls her up and sets up a date.

Bridges has worked out a perfect solution for his sexual failures. He will marry a woman he can be chummy with, who is intelligent, and who will not require a sexual relationship (and who is so plain looking as not to invite his own sexual responses). Streisand follows this, not knowing to be insulted or to go along. Finally she agrees to go along with it, and they get married. But can they maintain this palsy-walsy pseudo-marriage, or it doomed?

Bacall gave a terrific performance as an apparently bitchy woman, who likes to show up her younger daughter (even at the latter's wedding), but who turns out to be more caring and wise than we first suspected. Brosnan gives a good performance, but it could have used a few filler scenes to broaden his character's history (we don't know how he and Streisand first met, nor how Rogers stole him away). Bridges is wonderful as a variant on the absent minded professor, who can't see the trees for the forest he wishes to plant. George Segal (who co-starred with Streisand in THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT two decades earlier) is good as Bridges' friend who sees too clearly how wrong-headed the experiment is. Rogers does well as a nymphomaniac who does not mind marriage as a badge of sexual success, but cannot stand the actual reason for that institution.

In the end Streisand does triumph - and she does hear Puccini in her ecstasy (TURANDOT by the way). You see, you are supposed to "hear" great romantic music - especially Puccini - when achieving sexual climax.

The film's title is a reminder of the whole issue of surface appearance that bedevils Streisand's ugly duckling (and several other characters too). It is a reminder of dressing up for dating, of looking attractive to men, and of the fact that we face ourselves in the mirror - and so do we face ourselves honestly or lying to ourselves? But watch carefully - in many scenes Streisand will shoot the scene from the point of view of the mirror. It becomes an all encompassing theme in this wonderful film.
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Fair to middling romantic comedy
vincentlynch-moonoi13 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
All my life I pretty much avoided films starring Jeff Bridges (although I really liked his brother Beau). Looking back, it was more due to the movies Jeff Bridges appeared in, which didn't suit my taste. Here, however, Bridges is excellent as the somewhat befuddled math professor who is afraid of intimacy. The other reason I didn't watch this film until now (and it has been out for 20 years) is that I somehow had no idea it was essentially a light romantic comedy. And, it's a very good one.

But I think there's a huge flaw in this film -- the Streisand character seems totally inconsistent in terms of behavior. And I'm not even talking about how the character changes when her life situation changes. I'm talking about inconsistent in terms of being an ebullient college profession by day and a near shut-in by night. Nope. I don't buy it.

Lauren Bacall is interesting as the mother; quite stereotypical, but still interesting. George Segal has a rather mundane role as a friend for Bridges. Pierce Brosnan and Brenda Vaccaro have significant, though not interesting roles as friends who move the plot along.

It's good, but not great, overly long, and very nice fluff. Not one of Streisand's best, but not bad. ehhhhh
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The Mirror Has Two Faces
Coxer9923 June 1999
Romance-comedy much in the vain of "The Ugly Duckling," that is played by Streisand, who does the possible by once again miscasting herself as a frumpy waif, while Bridges struggles through his lines like a 20 year old on prom night. Bacall is the only stunning thing in the entire film. Her angelic presence is heavenly compared to what Barbra is doing on the screen. Barbra directed again and she's still a good director...she just has to stop casting herself in her own pictures.
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If a Girl Isn't Pretty...
EUyeshima11 October 2006
That's the name of a comically mocking song from "Funny Girl" when a group of yentas discuss the romantic prospects of a young Fanny Brice. It seems the harsh sentiments still resonate with Barbra Streisand nearly thirty years later in her third directorial effort. While she shows a sure hand in maneuvering the inevitable shenanigans of a romantic comedy, the multi-hyphenated legend lets her intractable need to convey serious-minded, self-esteem-oriented messages weigh this 1996 movie down considerably.

At an epic length of 130 minutes, the story, adapted by Richard LaGravenese from a forgotten 1958 French film, is quite slight as it focuses on Rose Morgan, a wildly popular Columbia literature professor but also a fortyish, baseball-obsessed frump long in the shadow of her beautiful sister Claire and glamorous mother Hannah. Her lot in life seems crystallized at Claire's wedding when she weds Rose's longtime crush Alex. Meantime, Columbia mathematics professor Gregory Larkin tires of bedding beautiful women who rile him toward irrational acts and wants to find a homely woman with whom he can have a platonic, intellectually-focused friendship and eventually a chaste marriage. Greg places a personals ad to which Claire responds unbeknownst to Rose. The budding relationship between Rose and Greg turns on the inevitable moment when Rose seeks intimacy from a disinterested Greg. This leads to a physical transformation and a message-driven finale.

As Rose, Streisand is quite good and sympathetic most of the way, even if she never looks terribly frumpy and overdoes her character's magnetic speaking skills in the lecture hall. Like the yearning Barbra of long ago, she achieves a palpable sadness when she feels humiliated on her wedding night. However, once Rose transforms herself, Streisand's ego takes over as her blonde highlights and aerobicized body bring back the execrable, soft-focus treatment from the lovemaking scenes in "The Prince of Tides". Looking more like his uni-browed brother and father as he grows older, Jeff Bridges plays Greg as a befuddling stereotype who grows more unrealistic as the story evolves.

At the time of release, Lauren Bacall received all sorts of kudos as Hannah, though it is a relatively superficial performance in a showy role except for a wonderfully brave, make-up-free scene where Hannah admits to Rose how she valued her beauty while it lasted. Mimi Rogers provides sharp bite as Claire, while Pierce Brosnan lends the necessary smarminess to the shallow Alex and George Segal (Streisand's one-time co-star in "The Owl and the Pussycat") is relegated to a dispensable best-pal role. As with her previous two films, Streisand imbues her film with lots of background music though this time it feels somewhat more intrusive. What she does achieve is the romanticism in tone and self-image reinforcement she obviously felt a need to convey. The DVD came out only two years later in 1998 and consequently has no extras to offer.
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Or, "The Theatre Has Two Patrons"
Boyo-214 September 1999
I love Streisand and think she is one of the most talented people ever born, but this movie is total garbage and unworthy of the great cast she assembled. I don't mind a soap opera and I don't shy away from a "chick flick", but I think if anyone were to like this, it would have to be a woman. At least Bacall did not win the Oscar - she was okay at best.
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For Streisand fans only; a no-holds-barred exercise in Ego
lemon_magic30 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I know other people think highly of Streisand's skills as a singer and an actress, and I understand their reasons for feeling that way. In fact, I agree she was excellent in "Hello Dolly", "What's Up, Doc?" and "Funny Girl", I agree that she can belt out a Broadway show tune with the best of them, and I agree that she has enormous charisma.

But I am not a member of the Streisand-As-Diva Fan Club. As great as her talents are, her taste sucks, and she consistently overestimates and overreaches her talents in pursuit of really cheesy and juvenile self gratification. So we get misfires like "Yentl" (which Isaac Bashevis Singer hated), and we also get bloated exercises in ego,like her remake of "A Star Is Born", "The Prince Of Tides", "Nuts", and this piece of fish-wrap.

The problem with this movie isn't in her performance, which is good in the service of the script. The problem is in the writing, and it's the same problem with every other recent Streisand film: she wants to be viewed as some kind of beauty queen and sexual powerhouse, and apparently she also wants to be seen as 20-30 years younger than she actually is. But with her face and features, that just isn't going to happen. Well, if your definition of sexual powerhouse includes overwhelming belief in and seriousness about your talents (ie, Diva-like self-importance), maybe she could skate by there. But no one will ever include her in a Playboy calendar or a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Accept it, Barbra, and move on.

But the goldarn movie just won't let it rest. In every scene, even the ones where Streisand is supposed to be a dowdy ugly duckling, her skin is perfect, her makeup is perfect, the lighting on her is perfect, and her every line and delivery is calculated to frame her in the most sympathetic and flattering way possible. In every scene she's in (and Streisand is front and center 90% of the time), Streisand the director is shoving herself in the viewers' face, saying "Aren't I sexy? Aren't I precious? Aren't I actually the most winsome, lovable, attractive young thing you ever saw, even if the script says I can't get a man - yet?'

As Joe Queenan puts it, her entire 'transformation' from ugly duckling to desirable goddess "consists of losing six ounces, getting a frizzy poodle haircut, and buying a cheap dress." She looks exactly the same as before, only now Jeff Bridges' character is supposed to be stunned by her desirability and beg to take her back. And let's face it, even in the persona of a nerd math professor, Jeff is still one of the sexiest leading men of the last two decades. So this is about on the same level as me fantasizing about Dominique Swain begging me to take her back after I buy some new suits and lose an inch off my waist on a low carb diet.

And in response to Jeff begging to get back together, Streisand the director has Streisand the actress deliver an "I desired you once, but now I've moved beyond you" oration that is a patent by-the-numbers REVENGE fantasy put down; it's the speech composed in the fantasies of any girl who was ever dumped by any boy in the history of romance. Hell, it's not a speech, it's a bumper sticker. And it is delivered with such relish that you can literally see Barbra getting her own back from every unhappy romance or unrequited longing she ever felt. It is completely self indulgent and has a stale musty aura of intellectual and emotional self-diddling. IMO, this is supposed to be the emotional climax of the film, but it's got the maturity of an old "Virginia Slims" commercial.

On the positive side, this is an 'A' level production, with great sets and costumes, good performances from Lauren Bacall and Mimi Rogers, and even a few funny lines. And Barbra sounds great on the sound track singing the title piece.

Note to Barbra Streisand: You are one of the most admired and respected singers and actresses in the world. You have millions of dollars and unlimited license to undertake any recording project you want. You even look pretty good in a middle-aged-dynamic-businesswoman kind of way. You've won. Please, please, stop scoring easy points in self-indulgent movie fantasies about how gorgeous and young you are.
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Streissand's "Mirror": An Inevitable Love Story
FloatingOpera79 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996): Starring Barbara Streissand, Jeff Bridges, Lauren Bacall, Pierce Brosnan, Mimi Rogers, George Segal, Elle McPherson, Brenda Vaccaro, Leslie Stefanson, Amber Smith, Lucy Avery Brooks, Taina Elg, Ali Marsh, David Kinzie, Rabbi Howard S. Herman, Brian Schwary, Thomas Hartman, Trevor Ristow, Randy Pearlstein, Stacie Sumter, Jill Tara Kushner, Jimmy Baio, Thomas Saccio, Emma Fann, Mike Hodge, Anne O'Sullivan, Laura Bailey, William Cain, Rudy Ruggiero, Adam LaFevre, Carlo Scibelli.....Director Barbara Streissand, Screenplay Richard LaGravanesse.

" I want to be upfront with you. I am not interested in sex." "When my date takes me home and kisses me good night, if I don't hear the philharmonic in my head, I dump him."

Directed and produced by Barbara Streissand herself, this 1996 film is actually a re-make of a 1958 French film "Le Miroir a Deux Faces", but altered to fit into New York City in the 1990's. Barbara Streissand's signature is all over this, much like it was in the 1991 film "Prince of Tides" where she was paired with Nick Nolte. Here she is paired with handsome and talented actor Jeff Bridges and their chemistry is remarkably good. Several aspects of this film make it truly great, even though it was not a very successful film when it was released, despite a star cast - Pierce Brosnan, Mimi Rogers and most notably, Lauren Bacall, who won the Oscar for Supporting Actress. Babs plays Rose Morgan, a plain, intellectual Columbia University English professor. She has been married once- to self-absorbed and successful Alex (Pierce Brosnan) who, tired of her strong feminist attitudes and disinterest in her looks, dumps her for the more attractive and exciting Claire (Mimi Rogers).After answering an ad, she finds herself drawn to Professor Gregory Larkin (Jeff Bridges)who has himself been in an unsuccessful marriage. Both of them know that marriage is a risky venture and they both consent to marry with the condition that sexual and physical love will not be part of the equation. With this premise, Streissand explores the age-old issues of male and female conflicts, women's sexuality, women's empowerment and the human fascination with romance. We're all suckers for a great romance set to romantic music like Puccini's operas she says. While she tries to escape this, she and Gregory find fulfilling this condition difficult. Inevitably, they consummate their relationship with sex, but they have fallen for each other's souls and deeper selves before they were ever drawn to each other's sensuality. Lauren Bacall got the Oscar for Supporting Actress in her role as Rose's mother. She is a social-climbing and materialistic woman who does not genuinely care for her daughter's happiness. Rose rebels against her mother by opting not to look attractive and to stroke a man's ego but to find happiness on her own terms and to support herself financially. The chemistry between Lauren Bacall and Barbara Streissand, two famous women at this time, is superb. Jeff Bridges, an actor who could take on roles as different as night and day, plays Professor Gregory Larkin with nuance, human warmth and wit, which matches Barbara Streissand's strong-willed and sharp-witted Rose perfectly. A sexy nerd, he attempts to find happiness with a woman through a strictly platonic relationship but eventually discovers that the appeal of sex and romance is too strong. This is an intelligently written film, with comedic flair a ala Woody Allen. It's a delightful film about relationships, about inner beauty and about self-discovery. It's about the irresistible appeal of romance, which we are fed to by romantic movies and fairy tales. With superb music, including an Oscar winning original song, great cinematography and feel-good quality, this is one of my favorite romantic comedies to come from the mid 1990's. It stands out because it's so intelligently expressed. Other great romantic comedies of the 90's with a feminist slant include "The First Wive's Club". Fans of Barbara Streissand will enjoy this high-caliber film, with many wonderful moments. Two thumbs up.
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A Lovely Romantic Comedy...
Isaac585530 November 2005
I was so pleased as I read the previous posts for this film and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the "Death To Barbra Streisand" Knell that seems to pervade Hollywood seems to be limited to just Hollywood and there are people out there who keep an open mind regarding Streisand and her work. Streisand mounts one of her most entertaining and romantic films with THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES, a beguiling story about a romance between two lonely college professors that ends up turning into a platonic marriage. Yes, you can see how this is going to end thirty minutes into it, but the journey to that the ending is such a pleasure. Yes, despite Rose Morgan's Plain Jane demeanor, this is a bit of vanity piece for Streisand, but not so much as YENTL was. It's a very "Barbra" film with very "Barbra" themes and messages that we expect from her and for those of us who love Barbara, that's OK. Streisand has surrounded herself with a superb supporting cast. Lauren Bacall was robbed of an Oscar for her performance as Rose's vain, insensitive mother and Mimi Rogers was amusing as Rose's vain, insensitive sister. I loved the scene at Rogers' wedding where she threatens to have her mother's birth certificate blown into a birthday card and Bacall dryly replies, "I should never have encouraged you to speak." Pierce Brosnan and Brenda Vaccarro also offer some strong moments. But the most pleasant surprise for me in this film is the performance by Jeff Bridges as the slightly nerdy calculus professor, Gregory Larkin. Bridges makes this character so likable and injects him with a perfect combination of nerdiness and sexiness at the same time. Very few actors can pull that combo off, but Bridges does it so effortlessly. You just want to take Gregory in your arms and say, "It's OK, baby, it's OK..." Streisand has directed this film with a surprising amount of quiet sensibility and has given us an albeit predictable, totally winning romantic comedy.
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Frivolous, satisfying rom-com, but bog-standard for all that.
Silverzero12 September 2003
It appears that conventional paint-by-numbers romantic comedies are the order of the day. While writing these reviews, I try to be as original as possible, whenever possible. But when films (particularly rom-coms) are so alike, it's really a case of changing names and writing pretty much the same thing. So while `The Mirror Has Two Faces' is quite satisfying, it's hardly earth shattering or anything we haven't seen before. The world won't collapse if you don't get to see the film.

One thing that bogs down the standard of these movies is the `playing it safe' aspect. The inability to take risks doesn't guarantee consistent interest. Also, it more often relies on fluffy, glossy charm as opposed to good laughs and memorable situations. But it has its moments. It also makes some good points in showing the superficiality of `love'. But it soon falls into line with the slick `deux ET machina' ending which may be appropriate with most movies for this genre, but giving the circumstances, it was a wrong move.

Directed by singer/ songwriter/ actress/ newcomer director Barbara Streisand, there is a gently unpreachy tone throughout, but things are all too much in her favour. While she brings a spunky (if not increasingly feministic) charm to the proceedings, it's just not realistic. She takes it upon herself to recreate New York as the perfect haven for frumpy, single, middle-aged women. It's highly questionable that se should be the `coolest' person in a class of hundreds of college students, and also by able to memorise all of their names. And it's true what they say. She looks better before, as opposed to after, her transition to a `sex goddess'.

The support, on the other hand, is quite good all round. While none of them are suited to this genre, they're good all across the board. The standout is Lauren Bacall (on Oscar nominated form) as the typically overbearing mother. And Jeff Bridges finally finds a definition of character with an underwhelming, but convincing performance.

Certainly not flawless and very much cliched, `The Mirror Has Two Faces' is latte-light material. But certainly not the worst of its type, this is satisfying for what it's worth, and most importantly of all, there are a couple of laughs to be had along the way. My IMDb rating: 5.5/10.
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This is great movie, every line has a beat of its own!
macpherr27 April 1999
This movie has rhythm and I like that! Every line has a beat of is own! The CD is fabulous! I have both the video and the CD. Multi talented, Barbra Streisand (Yentl, Funny Lady), directed and played Rose Morgan, a professor of Romantic Literature at Columbia University, who knows how to teach well. You can tell that her students are enjoying her classes because of her teaching methods. She is very likable, intelligent, witty, and wears old fashioned outfits, which by the way are my favorite costumes in the movie. She loves football, loves to eat, (who doesn't?) and lives with manipulative mother Hannah Morgan, Lauren Bacall (Key Largo) who was nominated for an Oscar for this part. She has a sister Claire, Mimi Rogers, who is supposed to be prettier than Rosie (I think not!) and has stolen Rose's beau Alex, Pierce Brosnan (James Bond) and married him. Claire sets Rose up on a blind date because she finds an add in the newspaper of a man looking for a date, who turns out to be Gregory Larkin, also a professor (of mathematics) at Columbia University who is very boring, played by Jeff Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys) who's best friend is Henry Fine, George Segal (Lost and Found) a lots of male perspective on their dialogue. Rosie's best friend is Doris, Brenda Vaccaro (Midnight Cowboy) the friend everybody likes to have. They are confidants, they have fun together, they break their diets together, they order extra salad dressing together. Her mother is beautiful but self-centered, she keeps saying: "I raised a daughter, I buried a husband, I made my coffee".

Favorite Scenes: Rose's hair piece falling off; the restaurant scene where there are two mirrors and the camera shows the two sides of the mirror; Rose rooting for her favorite team; the favorite bite dinner, the odd numbers of cufflinks, the next door neighbor.

Favorite quotes paraphrased "When my date takes me home and I don't hear the philharmonic in my head, I dump him."; "A wedding is the final scene of the fairy tale, they never tell you what happens after. They never tell you that Cinderella drove the Prince crazy with her obsessive need to clean the castle and that she missed her day job."; "Curls! I tried that once, I looked like Shirley Temple on crack."; "You are the mother of the bride not the opening act."; "I will have your birth certificate blown up as a Christmas card."; her mother saying. "I should never have encouraged you to speak."
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A Clichéd Romantic Meant for Barbra Streisand's Biggest Fans
blakiepeterson13 May 2015
The characters in "The Mirror Has Two Faces", all neurotic, intellectual middle class types, are tired of the manipulations of classic Hollywood. You grow up with an understanding that your first kiss will be set to the sounds of triumphant orchestral melodies; you expect that you'll find someone so perfect for you that doubt will hardly ever be a factor in your relationship. But in real life, things like that don't happen. More often than not, you settle, afraid of becoming a spinster — and if you do happen to become a spinster, you may as well mope around about your loneliness while dreaming along with "It Happened One Night".

Rose (Barbra Streisand) falls under the category of the latter. She doesn't mope around though: she has completely given up. She knows that she isn't a great beauty, and she knows that her biological clock is falling into the pre-stages of menopause. Instead of fretting over her consistently non-existent love life, she embraces her solitude, filling up voids with fattening muffins you find in those plastic wrappers defined by their gigantic, illegible Swedish titles.

Rose, around fifty, still lives with her mother (Lauren Bacall), a past beauty who spends her days as a critical showoff who wishes she were 25 again. Rose teaches literature at a local university, analyzing the doomed lust of Shakespeare's ensembles to the delight of her students — to her surprise, she captures the attention of Gregory Larkin (Jeff Bridges), a mathematics professor who lectures at the very same college. Gregory isn't interested in her like Clark Gable was interested in Claudette Colbert, though; he wants to find love that doesn't have to be strewn together by sex. He wants an emotional connection, a union that requires two souls to unite through their minds rather than their bodies. Rose is skeptical, but she doesn't want to be an old maid the rest of her life — so she throws caution to the wind and starts dating this seemingly asexual oddball.

After courting for months, they get married. But only a few moments into the marriage does Rose realize that she can't handle a relationship that isn't, you know, normal. In the process, she rediscovers herself, giving herself a makeover (a part of a cringe-worthy montage sequence that involves lots of treadmills) and a new attitude. A fresh appearance can't instantaneously change things, however; Rose is forced to decide whether she wants to continue being a part of a sexless coupling.

It's ironic that so much of "The Mirror Has Two Faces" is spent criticizing cinematic romantic comedies for being so manipulative, with their obligatory happy endings and scheming instances of mood music. Because, like those "manipulative" rom-coms, the film is pretty manipulative itself. It has an obligatory happy ending and scheming instances of mood music too — so what's the deal?

Streisand, making her third directorial feature here, doesn't have anything particularly deep in mind. She wants to create a romantic comedy without the seemingly flawless young people with nothing at stake, instead focusing on middle-aged obsessives that have quite a bit more baggage than charm. Putting Streisand's manipulations aside, "The Mirror Has Two Faces" is a successful film, only because it doesn't have a problem with being likable. Likability is nearly a distraction; this is far from an excellent film, but Streisand's indestructible appeal makes it impossible not to slightly, slightly hope that Rose and Gregory will, against the odds, have sex (GASP!) and live happily ever after.

Fans of the immortal Babs will figure that the film is the best thing since chicken fried steak; but those who simply appreciate her star power (me) won't be so sold. Streisand is, as usual, impossible to dislike, yet some of her co-stars, particularly Bridges, don't fit into her syrupy vision so easily. Bridges may be one of the leads, but his character's "no sex" theory is difficult to sell, considering Bridges portrayal is shrill, stuttering, and awkward.

Most of "The Mirror Has Two Faces" is formulaic romantic comedy-drama glitter, set to the tune of your grandma's movie preferences (not a bad thing; formula can be effective, and the film is good); its bright spot is Bacall, who steps out from behind Streisand's Hallmark sheen and represents something real. It's worth your time if you can stomach sentimentality and appreciate Streisand's warm talent. If your gag reflex is weak, though, avoid.
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A Fine Work By Streisand
movieratings0315 May 2006
THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES **** There are close to no gentlemen callers who are waiting to romance professor Rose Morgan (Barbra Streisand), so she's learning to settle for a life with no man by her side. To her surprise, she is eventually pursued by a Math teacher (Jeff Brydges) who seeks a platonic marital relationship. Needlessly appreciative of the fact that any man - much less an attractive man - wants her, she becomes frustrated with the lack of intimacy between them as they draw together and eventually wed. The role-playing between Streisand and her antagonistic mother (Lauren Becall) adds intensity to the story. A fine work by Streisand.
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A familiar yet unique film
AscendeSuperius9 October 2021
It really is an interesting concept. To marry not for love, but for companionship. To see how such an unorthodox relationship forms and blossoms, through thick and thin, it is really the kind that makes your heart melt. Still, while staying unique, it follows through the tried and true formula of basically every romance film with its unrealistic and magical (albeit heart warming) notion of romance. While I will say that I am probably biased given that I am an absolute sucker for romance films, this truly is the first good one I've seen in a while. Definitely worth the watch.
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Enjoyable romantic comedy; much better than it's reputation
robb_77220 April 2006
Streisand's third directorial effort was greeted with surprisingly vicious reaction from both fans and critics, nearly all of whom immediately labeled it as an over-the-top vanity piece. It also had considerable difficulty at the box office. After opening with strong numbers, the $45 million budgeted film took a nose dive and did not recover. It ended up taking in $46 million domestically ($65 million worldwide), which was a respectable take, but far from the blockbuster status of films like A STAR IS BORN or THE PRINCE OF TIDES. When considering all of the above information, it's a bit surprising to discover that the film is nothing more than an entertaining and heart-felt romantic comedy. In hindsight, it's hard to understand why a such a harmless and light-weight film became such a lighting rod for scathing reviews and harsh comments.

While the storyline is predictable, the movie is actually very well-done with a brisk pace, compelling characters, and a witty screenplay. The finale may come down a bit heavy-handed on the "message" end, but the build-up is effective enough to merit this indulgence. Though MIRROR doesn't match her previous two directorial efforts, Streisand does once again pull off the various actress/producer/director roles with great efficiently, and this results in an effective star vehicle for the then-54-year-old film legend. Jeff Bridges received a lot of flack for his completely unselfconscious portrayal, but I admire how completely he throws himself into the silly role. Lauren Bacall is brilliantly biting and luminous in her turn as Streisand's mother, a role that earned her first (and so far only) Oscar nomination. Mimi Rogers is also fun as Streisand's slutty younger sister, as is Brenda Vaccaro as her self-deprecating best friend - although Pierce Brosnan is wasted as a gigolo-like suitor. All in all, an enjoyably fluffy film, undeserving of the criticism it routinely receives.
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