Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Mirror has Two Faces

'I'm just a woman in love /
And I'd do anything /
To get you into my heart'

Remember those lines by Barbara Streisand in her 1980 hit song 'Woman in Love'? I used to play the song on my guitar in school! Well, this afternoon I saw a bit of 'The Mirror has Two Faces' (1996) directed by Barbara and starring herself on Zee Studio.

In the movie Barbara (Rose) comes full circle. She falls in love with Gregory (Jeff Bridges) through an ad - falls out of love with him - meets Alex (Pierce Brosnan) - falls in love with Gregory again.

I love Puccini's 'Nessum Dorma' at the end, as though the Gods themselves approve when the lovers get together again.

This is a middle age romance. But the guy (scalded in the past from other relationships) wants to keep it platonic, viz. he wants no sex. A maths prof, he idealizes Rose as though she were a perfect equation. Rose, an English lit. prof herself, is bored sick of his excessive politeness and just leaves him - to reinvent herself as a sexy siren.

She does this by working out, dieting (read chewing carrots), going for dance classes and jogging in lush green forests. She works hard towards getting to be the new person she wants to be.

When he sees her new avatar, in his jaw-dropping scene her husband cannot take to her. He sees her as a static entity, not dynamic.

Rose fares much better in the aftermath of the break-up. Her husband loses his temper at classes, frequents his sidekick, and loses it. Rose keeps busy, uses the time to bond with her acerbic mother (Lauren Bacall)and comes out noble.

Chaos dawns when Gregory lands up at her door and hollers for her at 6 am waking up the neighbourhood. Rose has finally found what she wants - a man who will accept her as she is.

This is a mature take on love and the entirely different lives and expectations of a man and woman in a relationship. How each of them cope is sensitively and honestly portrayed.

The English lit-ness of Rose seems to be lost in the plot as you have none of the lush quoting from world literature which one is treated to in other films when one of the characters has such a profile.

What struck me was how Barbara Streisand in her personal life has reinvented herself - from a singer - to an actor - and a producer/director. Here she is singing with Bryan Adams. What a journey! And how apt the role is for her - as though she is just living her life.

The film seems to say whatever you've been through in love - there is always something more you can do in life. So SYA (Shift your a_ _ _ _ _) - Go out there and do it! The mirror is what you see of yourself in it.

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