Beaches

Movie review by
Sarah Wenk, Common Sense Media
Beaches Movie Poster Image
'80s tearjerker about friendship is emotionally intense.
  • PG-13
  • 1988
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie's themes explore the value of enduring friendship, over decades of highs and lows in life and love. The necessity of persistence when pursuing one's dreams. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two lead characters remain best friends from the time they are kids and for the rest of their lives. Through ups and downs and years of anger and resentment in which they're not speaking to each other, they still find a way to patch things up. CC tirelessly works to become a successful performer. Hillary rejects the domineering control of her wealthy father and decides to move to New York City and work as a lawyer for the ACLU. 

Violence

Lead character becomes enraged with a condescending director, punches him and breaks his jaw. A main character dies.

Sex

Scene of a couple in bed, talking of how they were "making love" the night before.

Language

A young girl calls her acting rival a "queer." As an up-and-coming young performer, the lead character performs a bawdy German cabaret song about breasts called "Otto Titsling." In the song, Otto invents the "over the shoulder boulder holder," but a greedy Frenchman with the surname D'Brassiere steals the invention and gets the credit. "Bitch." "A--hole." "Crappy." "F--k."

Consumerism

An advertisement for Allstate Insurance is prominent on the roof of a taxi. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lead character gets severely drunk when her heart gets broken. She's shown being taken back to her apartment by the police, and as a police officer walks her to her apartment door, lead character stumbles and lurches while yelling in a belligerent manner. A tween girl smokes cigarettes under the Atlantic City boardwalk. An old alcoholic homeless woman lives on the stoop of the lead character's apartment building, is often shown passed out on or near the steps with a bottle of booze clenched tightly in her hands. Wine drinking amongst friends. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beaches is a 1988 dramedy in which Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey play two opposite characters who forge a friendship lasting for decades. The movie is the epitome of the term "tearjerker," and could be a bit too intense for viewers struggling to cope with the death of a loved one. As CC, Bette Midler's character, makes her way up the Broadway performer ranks, she's shown performing a German cabaret-style song called "Otto Titsling," in which the story of the invention of the "over the shoulder boulder holder" is humorously chronicled. Tween CC is shown smoking while underneath the Atlantic City boardwalk. Themes of failed marriages and infidelity recur. Scenes of drinking, including one in which CC, despondent over a heartbreak, gets severely drunk and needs to be escorted back home by the police. Some profanity, including "f--k." A main character dies.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnne-Margaret A. September 6, 2017

Still love it

Just watched Beaches with my 10 year old daughter. We cried together and loved it! She understood all the gorgeous messages about friendship, love and loyalty.
Kid, 11 years old February 17, 2010

Wonderful Movie

I saw this at a slumber party about 3 years ago. It may have a little bit of bad launguage but, it is very well made. Good message to the story too!
Kid, 12 years old February 3, 2011

Any Age

Great Movie! a bit of Language but a Perfect movie for a Sleepover, Or just for tweens. a Must see!

What's the story?

BEACHES is the story of the long friendship between WASPy rich girl Hillary (Barbara Hershey) and Bronx-born performer CC (Bette Midler), who first meet on the boardwalk in Atlantic City when they're 11. Sassy CC comes from the other side of the tracks compared to well-heeled Hillary, but the girls become loyal friends despite their differences. Each learns and benefits from the other -- CC draws Hillary out of her shell, and Hillary keeps flighty CC grounded. The women ride out the highs and lows of life, fight and make up, marry, and divorce. And 20 years after they first met, they come together in a California beach house to face their biggest challenge.

Is it any good?

When you start listing chick flicks, you won't get far without someone mentioning this true tearjerker. Beaches is rather formulaic, but the strength and solidity of Hillary and CC's connection will touch anyone who's ever had a friend, and no matter how absurd the movie becomes –- no neophyte Broadway star could ever afford to lease an apartment like the one CC gets –- viewers will be caught up in the emotion of their story.

The performances are somewhat pedestrian, with the exception of Mayim Bialik, who plays the young CC. Her energy outshines almost everything that follows -- she was born to play the young Bette Midler. This isn't a perfect film, but it's fun in a weepy way, and would make great viewing for mothers and daughters on a girls' night in, assuming that the daughters could handle the emotional intensity. Dads and brothers will probably find that, like the men in the film, they are more or less left on the sidelines.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the value of friendship, and how Hillary and CC's relationship changes over the years in Beaches. How do their career and relationship choices affect their friendship? Is the movie a realistic portrayal of friendship? How do the women's relationships with men change their connection to each other?

  • What would be the challenges in showing the ups and downs of a tumultuous decades-long friendship? 

  • Besides the content of the story and the performances of the actors, what are some of the other ways in which "tearjerker" movies set an overall mood of sadness that has viewers reaching for the nearest box of tissues? 

Movie details

Character Strengths

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