Turn Back the Clock



Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            What was the first movie that ever made you cry?  I donít mean a single tear coursing down your face kind of crying.  I mean a movie that touched you so deeply that you were literally bawling, going through tissue after tissue until you had a virtual mountain of used, sloppy tear-filled tissues clutched in your hand.  Eyes puffy and uncontrollable sniffling sort of crying.  The kind of crying that leaves you emotionally spent once you reach the credits.  Well, for me, that movie was Beaches, a film that first aired in 1988.

            The movie begins with two young girls meeting on the beach in Atlantic City.  Hillary Whitney (Marcie Leeds) is a refined young lady from a wealthy family while C.C. Bloom (Mayim Bialik) is a larger than life personality with a desire to become an entertainment star.  Theyíre both eleven years old when Hillary discovers C.C. hiding under the dock and grabbing a smoke.  Hopelessly lost, Hillary accepts C.C.Ďs offer to help find the hotel she and her father are staying in.  The two become fast friends and promise to write, becoming avid Pen Pals until they are well into their twenties.

            Thatís when Hillary (now portrayed by Barbara Hershey) decides to walk away from her life as an attorney working under her fatherís thumb and move in with C.C. (now portrayed by Bette Midler) who is living in New York and trying to get her singing career off the ground by singing in local venues.  The two become terrific roommates, Hillary practicing law as an advocate for the cityís less fortunate while C.C. takes on every job that she can to help pay the rent, including a gig as a singing telegram performer. 

            It is in this job that C.C. gets her big break, earning a spot in a local theater group.  Unfortunately, both C.C. and Hillary find the director of the group (John Heard) attractive and this causes strain on he relationship.  But the two are determined to make their friendship work, despite this problem until Hillary receives word that her father is extremely ill and she must return home to help him.  C.C. and Hillary find themselves Pen Pals once again and their lives begin to move in very different directions.  Can a friendship survive the constraints of distance and time, or are the two friends destined to move further and further apart as time goes by?

            Anyone who has ever experienced a very close friendship with someone will find that they can relate to the characters in Beaches.  The movie takes on all of the strains a friendship has to contend with over the years.  Some of these strains can destroy a friendship, but the strongest of friendships can whether any storm, no matter how heartbreaking that storm may be.  It is the ability to relate to what is going on in the story that makes the film such an emotional rollercoaster ride.  It causes us to laugh at the more comical moments in the friendship and sob at the heartbreaking ones.

            Beaches is just one of those films that has everything going for it.  The relatability - almost everyone can relate to the characters in this film.  The believability - the storyline, based on the novel by Iris Rainer Dart, is extremely believable and the actors are incredibly believable in their roles.  Garry Marshall has the uncanny ability to get the best performances from his actors in every film he directs and Beaches is no exception to that rule.  Great soundtrack - Beaches has a terrific soundtrack which features the award winning song Wind Beneath My Wings.  In an AFI review of the top 100 motion picture songs, Bette Midler once said that Wind Beneath My Wings was the top selling song of her career.  Listening to the lyrics, one can understand why - it touches the heart of anyone who hears it because each and every person listening to the song can think of someone who has been that special to them.

            Beaches is one movie that I donít mind watching again and again and again.  And no matter how many times I watch the movie, I find that I have to keep a box of tissues beside me.  After all these years, I still get emotional watching this film.  Thatís one of the things that makes Beaches one of my favorite films - the fact that this movie can still have such an effect on me even after watching it 100 times. 

            If you have never seen Beaches, you have no idea what you are missing.  Go out and rent a copy today.  After seeing it once, you are sure to want a copy of your own.  I recently watched the Special Edition DVD version of this film and its special features.  To be honest, the special features arenít much, but the blooper/gag reel is hysterical and worth checking out. 

            In closing, Beaches is the kind of movie that touches a person so deeply that it is not soon forgotten.  Itís one of those films that holds a special place in my movie collection and will always hold a special place in my heart.


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