Bridges of Madison County, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep bring the lovers of Robert James Waller's best selling novel to the big screen. Robert Kincaid, a photographer for National Geographic, has come to Madison County, Iowa, to shoot pictures of the area's covered bridges. Streep plays Francesca Johnson, a devoted wife and mother who accepts her monotonous life on a country farm with little thought of what might have been. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, the two meet when Francesca's husband and teenage children are out of town for a few days. Francesca offers to show Robert where the bridges are, they enjoy each other's company, and bingo, in 24 hours the two have fallen madly in love. The film begins in the present with Francesca's death 30 years after her affair. Her children have returned to Iowa and discover their mother's secret journals about her four-day love affair. True to the book, the film will evoke a few tears from viewers who understand the intense attraction between Francesca and Robert as well as its inevitable outcome. Strong performances, along with beautiful scenery and musical score add to the appeal of this bittersweet love story.

Although Francesca succumbs to the charms of the handsome stranger, she refuses to desert her family. Robert is the first person in years to see her as a lovely, intelligent and desirable woman, but she knows that is no justification for adultery. The story does illustrate the negative consequences of unfaithfulness, even though the affair lasts only four days. It also sends a strong message that family members should be more sensitive to each other's needs. Francesca's children have taken their mother for granted and never realized until her death how much Francesca had sacrificed for them or how lonely she was. Robert discovers that his obsession with his photography has robbed him of any chance for a meaningful relationship with a woman. The love scenes between Francesca and Robert include one bedroom scene with obscured, brief rear male nudity and a scene of them in the bathtub together. Some profanities and one obscenity, along with the adult subject matter, earn a PG-13 rating for THE BRIDGES. What a shame this intense love story could not be told as tastefully as Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence, an equally passionate tale of love and sacrifice.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (7) times - Mild 6, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Once (f-word)

Profanity: Several (5) times - Regular 4 (J, G, C), Exclamatory 1

Violence: None

Sex: Few times (once with obscured brief rear male nudity)

Nudity: Once (rear male nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (passionate kissing and caressing; couple shown in bathtub together, submerged)

Drugs: Several times (beer, brandy)

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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