An artfully made film about illicit,adulterous passion between middle-aged , bored , restless , small-town housewife , Mrs. Francesca Johnson / Meryl Streep & a National Geographic photographer, Robert Kincaid / Clint Eastwood ; a bachelor on assignment in Iowa for a week , to photograph its covered bridges in 1965.
Although this film is portrayed as a great 'love' story- it is actually Francesca who takes the initiative to prey on an unsuspecting Robert and seduce him, with multiple offers to show him directions to a bridge he's searching for , later peeking at him through gaps in the wooden bridge , spying on him when he took off his shirt to wash up, invitations for lemonade at noon / dinner in the evening, when she's alone at home, going upstairs & tarting herself up with earrings for Kincaid's benefit.
Each time the current activity runs out- Francesca ingeniously finds a new way to prolong her discourse with Kincaid by further plying him with fresh invitations.
Robert appears genuine , friendly & genial and the two forge an instantaneous friendship.
After a daytime encounter in a diner with Ms. Redfield , the town's 'bad woman', where Robert Kincaid sees how another adulterous woman is treated as an outcast by the townspeople , Kincaid contemplates putting the brakes on his new friendship with Mrs. Johnson. Being an out-of-towner, Kincaid had nothing to lose , yet he was not an opportunist & was empathetic enough to ernestly caution Francesca against going out on a friendly day trip with him while he worked , so that she wouldn't get 'compromised' around town .But Francesca was too unethical & determined in her pusuit of passion , excitement & her plans to see Kincaid , no matter what ( even loosely purchasing a new dress to go out with him ) Neither did having a 17 yr old son, a daughter & being married for two decades to a good & honest man, Richard Johnson & backstabbing him ( while he was away for 4 days at the Illinois state fair with their children ) weigh too heavily on Francesca - who was so determined to live vicariously through Robert Kincaid, questioning him closely about his travels / exotic destinations / romantic trysts which seemed exciting to her in contrast to her dull Iowa farm life.By the second evening Francesca manages to attain her goal & sleep with Kincaid experiencing passion in her dull life. They drive out of town on further day trips & jazz joints etc .When Francesca's 4 days of being alone are almost up ( before her family returned ) she , without provocation , lashes out at Robert ( who was consistently genial & gentlemanly - for a man who's sleeping with another's wife ) angry that she had reduced herself to just one of Kincaids romantic trysts from around the globe . Her anger didn't stem from any post-coital , adulterous regret or guilt about back-stabbing her poor husband ; but from her insecurity about being a plain , uninteresting farm wife who lived in the middle of nowhere and her longing to be special to someone exotic like Robert Kincaid.After her unkind ( & uncalled for ) attack, Robert Kincaid , always the gentleman , doesn't respond in kind , but shockingly rises to the occassion , assures her that his association with her is special to him and puts his money where his mouth is by asking her to leave with him , risking his own heart , instead of taking a more convenient ' wham,bam, thank you Ma'am ' exit . Mollified, Francesca packs up to elope with Robert, feeling validated & special. On their final dinner in the house, after getting whatever she wanted from Robert , Francesca hypocritically decides that now, her husband , Richard doesn't deserve to be treated so badly by her & neither do her children . Robert Kincaid who could've left unequivocally after a passionate 4 days tryst enjoyed by both sides, now has risked his heart after the admission of love & offer to elope forced out of him by Francesca's abusive tongue-lashing from before.He leaves the house broken-hearted, telling her that she may change her mind after her family arrives & that he will still be in town for a few more days - where she may see him & decide to leave with him after all. In the end we see Francesca out shopping with Richard who is clueless about his two-faced wife , when she runs into Robert who's very painfully & heartbreakingly , waiting in the rain without compromising her publicly , waiting to see if she'll leave with him. In the end , Francesca was neither true to Richard nor to Robert - she just used both men.She cheated on her husband and broke Kincaid's heart. Richard Johnson dies years later , never finding out the truth about how his wife abused his faith & Robert Kincaid dies being true to his illicit & misplaced 'love' thus never giving himself the chance to find real,clean love in a legitimate relationship with an honourable lady . Apparently this wasn't enough for Francesca who , after her death leaves journals for her middle aged children to catch up with their mother's thrilling indiscretion . Francesca claims she's being honest with them but like an exhibitionist , includes unnecessary erotic details .The only good outcome from the illicit passion was that after reading the journals & reflecting on the contents, Francesca's two children take a second look at their own lives & troubled marriages , with the son deciding to repair his relationship with his long suffering wife & the daughter deciding not to be a doormat to a philandering, weak husband.
The Bridges of Madison County
Action / Drama / Romance
The Bridges of Madison County
Action / Drama / Romance
The path of Francesca Johnson's future seems destined when an unexpected fork in the road causes her to question everything she had come to expect from life. While her husband and children are away at the Illinois state fair in the summer of 1965, Robert Kincaid happens turn into the Johnson farm and asks Francesca for directions to Roseman Bridge. Francesca later learns that he was in Iowa on assignment from National Geographic magazine. She is reluctant seeing that he's a complete stranger and then she agrees to show him to the bridges and gradually she talks about her life from being a war-bride from Italy which sets the pace for this bittersweet and all-too-brief romance of her life. Through the pain of separation from her secret love and the stark isolation she feels as the details of her life consume her, she writes her thoughts of the four-day love affair which took up three journals. The journals are found by her children after the lawyer was going over Francesca's will and ...
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