Directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, the same team responsible for such acclaimed films as A Room With a View and The Bostonians, the film examines the manners and morals of the Kansas City country club set between the world wars. It also offers Mr. Newman and Ms. Woodward a chance to appear on screen yet again as husband and wife.
—Larry Rohter, The New York Times
Simone Signoret once noted, ‘Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.’ Mr. and Mrs. Bridge admirably portrays the different seasons in this long marriage.
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice
November continues a series of movies under the theme of “Changing Times.” If we thought the last two movies offered opportunity to consider “how far we’ve come,” I hope that this one far surpasses your expectations. Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (Ivory, 1990) prominently features Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, actors whose long marriage (and other insights we have into their personal lives) seem to run counter to typical expectations of “movie stars.” Yet, most of us have likely imagined at some earlier time that their glamor and romance is what lifted them to a higher plane of living.
Now, as we watch this movie, we wonder if the characters Woodward and Newman portray are typical of the setting of the story (1930s and ’40s) and their status—American family, upper class privilege, social conformity. According to Woodward (quoted in Rohter, 1990), Yes.
In my case, it was my father, who was a very strong, very interesting man. There was a time in my generation when you framed your home life around your boyfriend or your father or a husband. It had always been that, and it was very hard for women of my generation to get out of that. In Mrs. Bridge’s generation, there was simply no hope at all.
To most people in the world who are too young or otherwise have no experience with this lifestyle, does this insider view allow anyone to wish for it? Or, after watching this movie, do we imagine that some may project the image onto older Americans at large?
Similar to my thoughts about the principal relationships in Charade, by today’s standards the romance in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge may be difficult for audiences to understand. What do you think? Click here to see what Mary has to say about it.
Are you preparing yourself?
Now, switching scenes, are you preparing yourself . . . for thinking critically about movies and other important life issues?
Register your email address below, under the “subscribe” button at the bottom, to receive new insight on our films each month. New insight enhances an inquiring mind.
Brussat, F., & Brussat, M. (2002, Mar 16). Mr. and Mrs. Bridge: Film reviews. Spirituality & Practice. Retrieved from https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/films/reviews/view/2688
Ivory, J. [Director] (1990). Mr. and Mrs. Bridge [Motion Picture]. USA: Miramax.
Rohter, L. (1990, Nov 18). Crossing the bridges with the Newmans. The New York Times, p. Movies; Arts. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/18/movies/film-crossing-the-bridges-with-the-newmans.html
Wikipedia contributors. (2018, Aug 31). Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mr._and_Mrs._Bridge&oldid=857379978