Parents' Guide to

The Bridges of Madison County

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Book-based romantic drama about a married woman's affair.

Movie PG-13 1995 135 minutes
The Bridges of Madison County Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 16+
age 18+

Great Work

This book represents the best in human emotions. It contains betrayal, trust, integrity and above all you fall in love with the characters. They are not perfect, nor do they try to be. His other book Slow waltz in Cedar Bend is just as good

This title has:

Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This well-made movie is far better than the simple-minded, tear-jerking, bestselling novel of 1992 it was based on. The overall message -- that it's best to sacrifice personal happiness for the happiness of loved ones -- is the flip-side of many famed tales about the doomed fate of heedless lovers who abandon everything for love. Sadly, some remnants of what made the book annoying stubbornly remain -- there's an underlying preachiness, as if the goal is to condescendingly instruct Francesca's children, and secondarily the rest of us, on what true love looks like.

Redeeming the material are Eastwood as both director and in the role of Robert, the dreamy, courtly wanderer, and Streep, as the uprooted Italian girl now a rural Iowa housewife. They give the feathery writing enough weight to suggest believability. Middle-aged love may not interest teenagers much, but mature teens may connect with the idea that children can never really know their parents. The flashbacks not only show us something about Francesca's true nature but also create a sense of the cycle of life that many of us go through, from abandoning childish dreams to surviving the death of parents. The Bridges of Madison County does succumb a bit to preachiness at the end as Francesca's disappointments, losses, and death move both of her children to do the best they can with the time they still have left. The implication is that viewers ought to do the same.

Movie Details

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