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World-traveling National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid and Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson aren’t looking to turn their lives upside down. Each is at a point in life where expectations are behind them. Yet four days after they meet, they don’t want to lose the love they’ve found. Academy Award winners* Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood earning her 10th Oscar nomination for her work here and Clint Eastwood who also produces and directs bring blazing starpower and powerful conviction to the lovers chronicled in Robert James Waller’s rhapsodic bestseller.
Some called it a snooze-fest, while others tearfully clutched their Kleenex. In any case, Clint Eastwood was an unusual and as it turned out perceptive choice to direct and costar in this lush adaptation of Robert James Waller's phenomenally bestselling novel. Meryl Streep costars as Francesca, the lonely Iowa farmer's wife who is instantly attracted to Robert Eastwood, the photographer from National Geographic who is in the area to photograph the bridges along Iowa's rural roadways. The two fall in love while Francesca's husband and children are away at a county fair, but the story's passion and lasting appeal derive from their decision to part forever after just a few brief days of intimate connection. Superbly acted with an emphasis on quiet, graceful moments of tender revelation, the film builds to a crescendo of powerful and conflicting emotions. Like David Lean's Brief Encounter to which it bears marked similarities, The Bridges of Madison County is destined to become one of the classic movie love stories. --Jeff Shannon