Movie #156 2021: Beaches (1988)

Classic eighties melodrama? With Bette Midler? Count me in.

Beaches is one of those weird movies that you’d think went straight to video if you didn’t research it beforehand. It has almost that Hallmark Channel feel to it, and the only reason you would think twice is because of Midler’s presence. She’s way too big a star for a Hallmark movie after all. But what’s it about?

This 1988 classic has one of those endings that everyone knows even before they’ve seen it. Maybe that’s a gay thing, but whatever. Obviously for those who don’t know, I won’t spoil it. The movie begins with two friends meeting (the young Midler is played by a young Mayim Bialik – fun fact) as young girls and we slowly unravel how they continued their friendship into adulthood despite not seeing each other for years. Midler plays CC Bloom, who is the complete opposite to Barbara Hershey‘s Hillary, but it becomes apparent that that’s what makes their friendship blossom. (Apologies for the Mayim Bialik pun…)

Beaches (1988) - IMDb

Beaches is must-see cinema for the gays. They really said ovaries before brovaries. What else even needs to be said? It’s iconic. The end.

Midler and Hershey are simply the perfect chalk and cheese double act. Their chemistry is palpable here, and Midler uses her renowned set of magnificent pipes to up the tempo throughout. Otto Titsling? A musical anthem. Both of the film’s stars clearly had so much fun filming this movie and it translates perfectly on screen. 

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Obviously it’s all incredibly eighties, but that doesn’t stop the story from being interesting and endearing in the present. The narrative focuses mainly on human connection and specifically the connection between female friends – something that never goes out of fashion. It’s definitely longer than it needs to be and it’s not exactly the most unique plot in the world, but it’s mostly entertaining and sweet. 

Yes, Beaches is a pure “chick flick” and that won’t be for everyone. However, the difference is that it never pretends to be anything other than it is; there’s no hidden moral agenda or philosophical point to it, it’s just a film about two very different women who are the best of friends and the love they have for one another. 

In terms of filmmaking it’s nothing special, but boy is it a tear jerker. As I’ve said, the ending is something pretty much everyone already knows before they watch it, but you know what? It’s still awfully sad.

Anyway, my girlfriend made me watch this before I went to work… because she’s a sadist. And now I’ll be depressed all day.

Beaches is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

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