The movie does take its time, and it is plenty melodramatic, but what can I say…I thought the love story at the heart of it worked, geriatrics and all. It felt very old school in its telling, not just because of the time period and relaxed rural setting, but also in the way it was shot. Eastwood’s direction was refreshingly calm—methodical and not flashy—letting the story and characters do all the work.
You don't think of Eastwood, with his trademark scowl and raspy voice, as the romantic leading man type. (Anything without him holding a gun just feels wrong.) However, he pulls off the charisma effectively, even if he’s pretty much playing himself. Streep is also fantastic as the bored, old world housewife, getting completely lost in the role. Together the two have good chemistry together, making it easier to root for them despite all the infidelity. I know that may make me sound like a hypocrite considering I called out YOU'VE GOT MAIL, another adultery based movie, a couple weeks back. However, the difference is that BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY takes the time to build out their complex situation, making the romance feel natural, not just because the movie poster tells you to the couple should be together.
If there’s one thing that doesn’t work it’s the framing story involving Streep’s grown children. The acting feels very amateurish and the whole thing plays like a screwball comedy at parts, which is grossly atonal with the rest of the movie. The lessons they learn are too direct and the whole thing nearly tears apart a film that works surprisingly well.
Commentary by director of photography Jack N. Green and editor Joel Cox: These two veterans have plenty to share, but I suspect most people won't be too bothered to listen to this without Eastwood or Streep’s presence.
An Old Fashioned Love Story (29:38): This Making Of documentary covers everything you expect—adapting the book, casting, location scouting and shooting—and makes Eastwood sound like an awesome dude to hang out with.
A Music Video and a Trailer.
Extra Tidbit: Streep earned her 10th (!!!) Oscar nomination for this movie.