Plot: Two married strangers meet randomly, become friends, and fall in love.
I can’t say this film really won me over. It’s a pretty standard romance film with nothing really that notable about it. It was fine. If this film didn’t have Meryl in it, it would most definitely have been lost to the 80s forever. It didn’t help that I don’t really buy Robert DeNiro as a romantic lead. As confirmed by his recent appearances as ‘Grumpy Old Man’ in pretty much every film he makes, some things come more naturally to him than others.
Brian thinks I’m ill, he thinks that it has to do with my father, he thinks the stress and, you know, all that… Thinks I’m having a breakdown, but I’m not, there’s nothing wrong with me. Except that I love him.
– Molly Gilmore
‘Falling in Love’ is typically 80s; Meryl is sporting a head of loosely permed curls and shoulder pads that would make a quarterback jealous. Not only that, they first meet in a bookstore where people are actually buying books, rather than deciding on what to order from Amazon afterwards for half the price.
Meryl’s inner turmoil over leaving her husband for Robert’s character is the most interesting part of the film. In a scene towards the end as she races to DeNiro’s place to catch him before he leaves town, she considers driving over a set of tracks as a freight train thunders towards her. She thinks better of it, letting the train go past, in turn ruining her chances of catching him in time and causing her to burst into tears. Imagine Kim Basinger, Deborah Winger or any other of the romantic leading ladies of the 80s trying to tackle that scene, it would end up as sentimental slush.
By itself, ‘Falling In Love’ is an alright film, but if an adulterous Meryl Streep is what you’re after, The Bridges of Madison County blows it out the water.