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The Mirror Has Two Faces is a 1996 Americanmarker romantic dramedy film produced and directed by Barbra Streisand, who also stars. The screenplay by Richard LaGravenese is based on the 1958 French film Le Miroir à Deux Faces written by André Cayatte and Gérard Oury, which focused on a homely woman who becomes a beauty, which creates problems in her marriage.

The film stars Streisand, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, George Segal, Mimi Rogers, Brenda Vaccaro and Lauren Bacall.

The film received widespread criticism for being an ego production by Streisand who, with Marvin Hamlisch, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, and Bryan Adams, also composed the film's theme song, "I Finally Found Someone", and sang it on the soundtrack with Adams.

Synopsis

Rose Morgan (Streisand), a shy, plain, middle-aged English literature professor at Columbia University, shares a home with her vain, overbearing mother Hannah (Bacall). When her attractive sister Claire (Rogers) starts preparations for her wedding to Alex (Brosnan), Rose begins to feel her loveless life is empty.

Gregory Larkin (Bridges), a Columbia Mathematics teacher who feels sex complicates matters between men and women, is looking for a relationship based on the intellectual rather than the physical. When he overhears Rose's lecture about chaste love in literature, he becomes intrigued and asks her out, and is impressed by her wit and knowledge. He proposes marriage, with the condition it will be strictly platonic. The prospect of spending the rest of her life as a lonely spinster living with her mother seems far worse than a marriage without sex, so Rose accepts.

Rose's attraction to Gregory grows, and one night she attempts to seduce him, much to his annoyance. When he departs on a lengthy lecture tour, Rose embarks on a crash course in self improvement. She diets, exercises, changes her hairstyle, learns to use makeup, and outfits herself in an updated wardrobe, and when her husband returns, he finds a very different woman waiting for him, and his perception of her begins to alter dramatically.

All the while Rose realizes that everyone, including herself, is behaving differently now towards her improved-self, though not always to her liking. Gregory and Rose finally face that their mutual love has not been hindered by Rose's appearance, but by Gregory's unusual theories on marriage and sex, and finally recognize their deep affection.

Cast



Box Office

The movie was a hit and on a budget of $42 million, it grossed $41 Million in the US and a further $33 million internationally with a worldside gross of $73 million.

Reception

In her review in the New York Times, Janet Maslin called the film's first hour "light and amusing" but added, "Then [Barbra Streisand] demolishes her audience's good will with hubris that goes through the roof. Beguiling as she can be in ugly duckling roles, she becomes insufferable as this story's gloating swan . . . The overkill of The Mirror Has Two Faces is partly offset by Ms. Streisand's genuine diva appeal. The camera does love her, even with a gun to its head. And she's able to wring sympathy and humor from the first half of this role. The film also has a big asset in Ms. Bacall . . [who delivers] her lines with trademark tart panache . . . and cuts an elegant and sardonic figure".Maslin, Janet. - Movie Review: "The Mirror Has Two Faces". - New York Times. - November 15, 1996.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said the film "approaches the subject of marriage warily and with wit, like a George Bernard Shaw play . . . it's rare to find a film that deals intelligently with issues of sex and love, instead of just assuming that everyone on the screen and in the audience shares the same popular culture assumptions. It's rare, too, to find such verbal characters in a movie, and listening to them talk is one of the pleasures of The Mirror Has Two Faces . . . this is a moving and challenging movie".Ebert, Roger. - "The Mirror Has Two Faces". - Chicago Sun-Times. - November 15, 1996.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Edward Guthmann described the film as "a silly affirmation fantasy . . . that Streisand . . . uses to prove she's really beautiful, funny and worthy of being loved, gosh darn it . . . hasn't she returned to the theme of Homely Girl Redeemed, and crowned herself the victor, countless times? Look back and you'll see that Streisand's career, from the beginning, was one long battle cry for geeks and wallflowers and Jewish girls with big noses - a series of wish-fulfillment scenarios in which she, the perennial underdog, triumphs by dint of talent, chutzpah and a really great personality . . . in its first half The Mirror is a romantic-comic delight: nicely directed . . . well-acted by a terrific cast and peppered with great one-liners . . . by the second half . . . the movie has disintegrated into a humorless, drawn-out plea for reassurance".Guthmann, Edward. - "In Babs' Vanity Case, `Mirror' Has One Face: Streisand overdoes the ugly duckling bit". - San Francisco Chronicle. - November 15, 1996.

Todd McCarthy of Variety called it "a vanity production of the first order. A staggeringly obsessive expression of the importance of appearances, good looks and being adored, Barbra Streisand's third directorial outing is also, incidentally, a very old-fashioned wish-fulfillment romantic comedy that has been directed and performed in the broadest possible manner . . . From the beginning, it is clear that Streisand intends to hit every point squarely on the head and maybe bang it a few extra times for good measure. Every gag, every line and every emotional cue is pitched to the top balcony so no one will miss a thing, and there are quite a few moments of self-examination and discovery where one nearly expects the star to break into song to underline what she is really feeling . . . the subject of the director's uninterrupted gaze. Lit and posed in an old-time movie star way you rarely see anymore, she plays out her career-long is-she-or-isn't-she-beautiful comic psychodrama one more time, with the girlish uncertainties wiped out with the speed of a costume change. If one were to take it all seriously, one would have to point out that there just isn't that much difference in Rose Before and After, that Streisand hasn't allowed herself to look unappealing enough to justify the big change. No matter. The narcissism on display is astonishing to behold, and veteran Barbra watchers will have a field day. Beyond that, pic does deliver a number of laughs, deep-dish luxury on the production side and an engagingly enthusiastic performance from Bridges".McCarthy, Todd. - Film: "Also Playing: The Mirror Has Two Faces". - Variety. - November 11, 1996.

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly rated the film C- and added, "We know these two people are lonely and afraid of love and deserve our empathy. But they enact their tightly choreographed pas de deux in such a hermetically sealed universe that our emotions can never be engaged. Instead, we are left to muse, "Oy vey, does Streisand know how over-the-top she is?" That's not to say that Mirror is difficult to sit through. The synthetic one-liners that pass for humor and sentiment . . . are struck regularly, like gongs . . . The settings are pretty. The music is slick".Schwarzbaum, Lisa. - Film: "Movie Review: The Way She Is" (1996)". - Entertainment Weekly. - November 22, 1996.

In the Washington Post, Rita Kempley called the film "Barbra Streisand's latest folly" and added, "Although meant to be a bubbly romantic comedy, the movie is actually a very public tragedy for Streisand, who still can't quite believe that she's not Michelle Pfeiffer . . . at 54, it's time to get over girlish hang-ups, forget the noble schnoz and thank God that unlike Cher, you're still recognizable".Kempley, Rita. - Film: "Caution: Objects in 'Mirror' Older Than They Appear". - Washington Post. - November 15, 1996.

In the newspaper's Weekend section, Desson Howe opined, "For Streisand fans, this ugly-duckling parable . . . is going to be the perfect experience. But for those who make crucifix signs with their fingers when her name is mentioned, this is definitely one to miss . . . the running time is hardly helped by a plethora of strategically framed shots of Rose's legs, new hairstyle, luscious lips and misty-blue eyes, after she has undergone a physical makeover. There is comic relief, however, from Lauren Bacall as Hannah, Rose’s egocentric, materialistic mother. Her withering lines . . . counteract some of the ubiquitous narcissism".Howe, Desson. - Film: "Streisand Loves a 'Mirror'". - Washington Post. - November 15, 1996.

Lauren Bacall's performance earned praise, winning her the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, the first in her 50-plus year career. Many predictors thought that Bacall would win, but Juliette Binoche took home the award for her role in the Best Picture winner The English Patient.

Awards and nominations



Soundtrack

On November 12, 1996, Sony released the soundtrack on CD. The CD single for "I Finally Found Someone" also contains a Spanish language version of Streisand's "Evergreen" ("Tema de Amor de Nace Una Estrella"). The soundtrack listing is here:

  1. Main Title / In Questa Reggia
  2. Got Any Scotch?
  3. An Ad?
  4. In a Sentimental Mood
  5. Rose Sees Greg
  6. Alex Hurts Rose
  7. Dating Montage, The
  8. My Intentions?
  9. You Picked Me!
  10. Funny Kind of Proposal, A
  11. Picnic in the Park
  12. Greg Falls For Rose
  13. Try a Little Tenderness - David Sanborn
  14. Mirror, The
  15. Going Back to Mom
  16. Rocking in the Chair
  17. Power Inside of Me, The - Richard Marx
  18. Rose Leaves Greg
  19. Ruby
  20. Rose Dumps Alex
  21. Greg Claims Rose
  22. The Apology / Nessun Dorma - Luciano Pavarotti
  23. I Finally Found Someone - Barbra Streisand & Bryan Adams
  24. All of My Life - Barbra Streisand


References

  1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117057/business


External links




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