This interminable melodrama purports to be a warm, humorous, and moving look at the relationship of two women over the course of 30 years. In reality BEACHES is a trite, maudlin, and terribly superficial effort of the sub-made-for-TV quality, an insult to anyone who has ever befriended
another human being. The film depicts the unlikely friendship of a brassy, Jewish, Bronx-bred singer (Midler) and an icy, WASP-ish, San Francisco-bred socialite (Hershey) from their meeting in Atlantic City until the day the latter is buried, a victim of the kind of disease that seems only to
afflict characters in movies like this.
An ego trip for star-executive producer Midler, the film tells its story mostly in flashback and entirely from her character's point of view, while the successful songstress drives a rented car from LA to San Francisco to be with the dying Hershey. Director Marshall fails to bring anything
remotely resembling inspiration or spontaneity to screenwriter Donoghue's terribly mundane disease-of-the-week script, leaving the viewer wondering why these two women would even speak to each other, let alone commit themselves to an apparently deeply emotional relationship. The problems they face
are wholly synthetic, dealt with in a flash, and forgotten until the next minicrisis comes along. There is no sense of real joy, pain, or struggle here--merely a TV version that is only tangentially related to actual human experience.
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