Some People Call Me
When Will I Learn to Stop Deconstructing and Love the Schmaltz
What follows is a point-by-point comparison of The Prince of Tides (POT) and The Horse Whisperer (HW). I'm telling you, you haven't seen such eerie similarities since you read the Kennedy and Lincoln facts on a souvenir at that gift shop in Springfield, Illinois.
The truth is in here.
POT: Babs used a best-selling romance novel as her source
POT: The middle-aged Babs directed and starred in the film,
making sure to bathe herself in a soft glow and show off her assets -
nails and legs - in a strangely unsettling, fetishistic way.
POT: Babs plays Dr. Lowenstein, a stereotypical New Yorker
who is a successful professional, borderline workaholic, wife to a cold
husband, and mother to a spoiled brat.
POT: Lowenstein calls her new-love-interest-to-be and requests
that he come to New York because she needs his help after a medical emergency.
POT: The camera lingers on a blood stain on the white carpet,
evidence of Tom's sister's suicide attempt.
POT: Lowenstein finds herself strangely drawn to this new
man, Tom Wingo, a southerner, an exotic other, and nothing like her husband.
POT: Lowenstein relies on Tom's help to cure her suicidal
patient, Tom's sister who is emotionally cripped due to childhood trauma.
POT: Although he at first seems like a rube, Tom reveals
a knowledge of literature that impresses Lowenstein.
POT: Tom thinks Lowenstein looks fetching, even when she's
wearing a drab grey jogging suit.
POT: Tom challenges Lowenstein's cocky son, teaching him
to play football. At first the boy is hostile, but he grows to love his
POT: Tom's wife is cheating and she's 1,000 miles away.
Lowenstein's husband is a jerk and he travels all the time. They're free
to hook up.
POT: Lowenstein and Tom dance together at the Rainbow
POT: It's obvious but painful to the characters and the
audience: these two lovebirds are from different worlds and they must
return to those worlds once the patient's wrists have healed and she's
writing poetry again and their work is done.
POT: Before going back to his family, Tom wishes two lives
were apportioned to him, so he could also live with Lowenstein.
POT: The final shot shows Tom, having left Lowenstein behind,
driving across a bridge in South Carolina, as a beautiful sunset illuminates
POT: At the end of the film, Tom claims that he whispers
"Lowenstein, Lowenstein" each day as a prayer, a sigh of regret,
an expression of praise.
So, there it is in all its shocking glory: insurmountable evidence that these two movies are really one and the same. Call it innocence lost, but will we ever be able to look at Babs and Bob the same way again? Sleepless at night, will we be haunted by the questions, what other movies have they directed that are so blatently the same movie? A River Runs Through Yentl? The Milagro Beanfield Mirror Has Two Faces?
The way they were is the way they are is the way they will always be. By teaming up in one of the classic romances in film history, Babs and Bob clearly learned all the conventions for manipulating an audience. But, hey, we kinda like being manipulated, don't we?
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