Rated: PG-13 for brief nudity. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: June 2, 1995 Released by: Warner Brothers
It takes a little while for Director Clint Eastwood to warm up the relationship between Robert Kincaid (Eastwood) and Francesca (Meryl Streep) but by the time they dance to "For All We Know" by Johnny Hartman, their relationship and romance are etched in your mind. Together they are romantic magic on the screen.
With a firm and gentle hand, Eastwood guides Francesca through four critical days in her life. Eastwood's direction and Streep's unparalleled ability to present complex feelings make a classic unmatched romance. She looks back at him and straightens her skirt. She watches him from cracks in the bridge and though her bedroom window as he washes outside. She is willing to incur the pain of the narrowness of her small town for this moment in time with Kincaid.
Eastwood got his first choice to play opposite her and she is perfect. The role requires her to express comfort and affection toward her husband (Jim Haynie) whom she loves but never feels the joy passion and arousal she feels for Kincaid. With him she is initially reserved and alluring at the same time. She quickly agrees to accompany him to the local covered bridge which he is assigned to photograph for "National Geographic."
The story begins just after Francesca's death. Her children are sorting through her belongings and are surprised to find a letter from Kincaid expressing his life long devotion. As they search deeper into their mother's treasures, a trunk is discovered filled with cameras, mementos and three journals which depict the four days Kincaid and Francesca spent together.
Francesca describes each day and night starting with the original attraction through their intimate relations. She also reveals her love and lack of passion for her husband and claustrophobic feeling s about living on an isolated Iowa farm. Kincaid is just the opposite. He travels constantly, taking photographs for his magazine. He never has a home. She is filled with awe over the tales of his life of adventure, and is deeply attracted to him.
Th revelations are totally unexpected, private and startling and the children now in their 30s, react very differently to their mother's journals. Th daughter, Caroline (Annie Carley), is sympathetic and understanding. The son, Michael (Victor Slezak), is outraged. His image of mother is completely shattered.
Francesca's reasons for staying in Iowa change the lives of both children.
It is the woman in this circumstance who has the family to go back to when the relationship ends. Kincaid is the one who spends his remaining years alone with only her memory to comfort him. Who would expect Fist Full of Dollars Eastwood would have the heart to make a film from a woman's point of view.
Expect a three tissue climax. Like classic films of the past, this is great cinema.
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