[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Full disclosure: I didn’t really have any interest in seeing the 1988 weepie Beaches (adapted fromÂ Iris R. Dart’s novel) redone, mostly because I have the original locked in my brain from when I saw it inÂ a theater atÂ 17, andÂ now, almost 30 years (yikes) later, I’m a decade older than the characters. But then I saw Allison Anders was attached to it as a director.
If you’re not familiar with Anders, she’s been the heart and soul ofÂ movies about women like Gas, Food, Lodging and Things Behind the Sun (ifÂ you only discovered Kim Dickens through Fear the Walking Dead, find a copy of this movie).Â In recent years, she’s directed series including Murder in the First, Turn, and the upcoming Time After Time.
She’s always an interesting director, so that changed my mind, and I’m so glad, because she and her leading ladies have crafted a solid remake for a new generation who maybe only knew the original for Bette Midler‘s globally successful ballad,Â “Wind Beneath My Wings,” but never actually saw the movie.
Idina Menzel steps into the role of CC (originally played by Midler) and Nia Long fills Barbara Hershey‘s shoes as Hillary. For the uninitiated, the story follows two lifelong girlfriends from different backgrounds and with different aspirationsÂ whose adultÂ lives takes them on separate paths until their relationship is renewed with a pregnancy and illness.
The cast is rounded out with Antonio Cupo (Ice and several Hallmark films) and Colin Lawrence (the upcoming Riverdale) as CC’s and Hillary’s significant others. The movie was shot in Vancouver, so keep an eye out for familiar faces.
Movies about genuine friendships between women are always welcome, and even Lifetime needs to take a break now and again from women behaving badly andÂ deadly toward each other. Menzel and Long are very good together as friends whoÂ become and remain family through overwhelming odds.Â I love that they were game to give these characters a fresh take.
Beaches premieres Saturday at 8/7c on Lifetime, followed at 10/9c by a live special with the cast calledÂ Beaches: The After Party. Here’s a sneak peek, plus Menzel’s new version of that powerhouse ballad.
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