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Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)

A mathematics professor (Jeff Bridges) has been burned too often in relationships and he blames that on the sex. So he seeks a relationship based on friendship and respect and no sex. Enter an English literature professor (Barbra Streisand) and they're off to the races. But how long can a loveless, sexless relationship work? Loosely based on the 1958 Andre Cayatte film LE MIROIR A DEUX FACES and directed by Streisand. The premise is intriguing and the screenplay by Richard LaGravenese (THE FISHER KING) isn't bad at all but I wish Streisand had just directed and cast another actress in the lead role so it didn't come across as such a vanity project. Streisand's Rose is supposed to be a lovable quirky character but when her mother (Lauren Bacall in an Oscar nominated performance) says, "You need a therapist", I'm inclined to agree. Amazingly, Bridges manages to not let Streisand hog the show and it's rather nice to see him as a romantic leading man instead of the recent grizzled rural types he's concentrated on lately. Streisand also miscalculates her character's "makeover". Sure there's a new hairdo and she wears high heels but there isn't a hell of a difference between the before and after. I suppose it sounds like disliked the film but I didn't. I just wish it weren't so Cinderella formulaic. There's a wonderful underscore by Marvin Hamlisch and Streisand. With Pierce Brosnan, George Segal, Brenda Vaccaro, Mimi Rogers, Elle Macpherson, Austin Pendleton, Taina Elg and Leslie Stefanson. 

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