The Mirror Has Two Faces Reviews
Rose (Barbra Streisand) falls under the category of the latter. She doesn't mope around though: she has completely given up. She knows that she isn't a great beauty, and she knows that her biological clock is falling into the pre-stages of menopause. Instead of fretting over her consistently non-existent love life, she embraces her solitude, filling up voids with fattening muffins you find in those plastic wrappers defined by their gigantic, illegible Swedish titles.
Rose, around fifty, still lives with her mother (Lauren Bacall), a past beauty who spends her days as a critical showoff who wishes she were 25 again. Rose teaches literature at a local university, analyzing the doomed lust of Shakespeare's ensembles to the delight of her students - to her surprise, she captures the attention of Gregory Larkin (Jeff Bridges), a mathematics professor who lectures at the very same college. Gregory isn't interested in her like Clark Gable was interested in Claudette Colbert, though; he wants to find love that doesn't have to be strewn together by sex. He wants an emotional connection, a union that requires two souls to unite through their minds rather than their bodies. Rose is skeptical, but she doesn't want to be an old maid the rest of her life - so she throws caution to the wind and starts dating this seemingly asexual oddball.
After courting for months, they get married. But only a few moments into the marriage does Rose realize that she can't handle a relationship that isn't, you know, normal. In the process, she rediscovers herself, giving herself a makeover (a part of a cringe-worthy montage sequence that involves lots of treadmills) and a new attitude. A fresh appearance can't instantaneously change things, however; Rose is forced to decide whether she wants to continue being a part of a sexless coupling.
It's ironic that so much of "The Mirror Has Two Faces" is spent criticizing cinematic romantic comedies for being so manipulative, with their obligatory happy endings and scheming instances of mood music. Because, like those "manipulative" rom-coms, the film is pretty manipulative itself. It has an obligatory happy ending and scheming instances of mood music too - so what's the deal?
Streisand, making her third directorial feature here, doesn't have anything particularly deep in mind. She wants to create a romantic comedy without the seemingly flawless young people with nothing at stake, instead focusing on middle-aged obsessives that have quite a bit more baggage than charm. Putting Streisand's manipulations aside, "The Mirror Has Two Faces" is a successful film, only because it doesn't have a problem with being likable. Likability is nearly a distraction; this is far from an excellent film, but Streisand's indestructible appeal makes it impossible not to slightly, slightly hope that Rose and Gregory will, against the odds, have sex (GASP!) and live happily ever after.
Fans of the immortal Babs will figure that the film is the best thing since chicken fried steak; but those who simply appreciate her star power (me) won't be so sold. Streisand is, as usual, impossible to dislike, yet some of her co-stars, particularly Bridges, don't fit into her syrupy vision so easily. Bridges may be one of the leads, but his character's "no sex" theory is difficult to sell, considering Bridges portrayal is shrill, stuttering, and awkward.
Most of "The Mirror Has Two Faces" is formulaic romantic comedy-drama glitter, set to the tune of your grandma's movie preferences (not a bad thing; formula can be effective, and the film is good); its bright spot is Bacall, who steps out from behind Streisand's Hallmark sheen and represents something real. It's worth your time if you can stomach sentimentality and appreciate Streisand's warm talent. If your gag reflex is weak, though, avoid.
It's a good example of 'guilty pleasure.'
(1996) The Mirror Has Two Faces
ROMANTIC COMEDY DRAMA
It's hard for me to watch any film that stars Barbara Streisand since she's not the most attractive person to look at but this film has it's moments which is basically another film about 'the ugly duckling'. Jeff Bridges as Math Professor Gregory Larkin, who's tired of many one-night stands and is yearning for a long time relationship, so he sets himself up with an intellectual not-so-attractive female English professor Rose Morgon (Streisand) for the intentions of treating it like a business since he believes it would last longer for eg. sleeping on separate beds and so forth. It's almost like another one of those arrange marriage situations where one isn't attracted to the other but grow to love one another.
You know while watching his film I've seen another film like this before called "Arthur" as well as other TV sitcoms such as "Taxi" except that it's directed by Streisand herself and it's well made without many cringing moments as well as dialogue except that it's a bit long and that some scenes needed to be shortened. But it's great to see other film actors such as Pierce Brosnan, Mimi Rogers, George Segal and Lauren Becall.
2.5 out of 4
What was the message of this film?... In order to rekindle an almost broken marriage you should aspire for external self-improvement and a "bitta' makeup". Secondly, where does 'The Mirror Has Two Faces' title come from? In one reflection, you're pretty and in another you're not so pretty? The final question I have with this movie is: is it a romantic comedy or a romantic drama? Streisand's cliché jokes are completely inappropriate in the scenes where we're just about to find some sensual passion that could excite us and revive this bomb.
The appearance of legendary film icon Lauren Bacall provides the only authentic and raw acting emotion that was definitely lacking in this picture. Bacall, in what would be her career-resurging role, plays Streisand's mother in the picture who fails to reckon with the fact that she has wronged her daughter in a way that she can't seem to deal with. The only shame is Bacall's scenes were very limited and more of a featuring role rather than a supportive one, but nonetheless it won her Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.
This is a complete vanity project increasing the ego of Ms Streisand of continuing the legacy of being the first and only woman (at the time) to have directed, produced, scripted, stared and composed the lyrics to a single picture. What would have worked if Barbra stayed completely out of the picture, stuck to behind-the-scenes (which would have, maybe, improved the camera angles to this shoddy film - or perhaps not) and casted perhaps either Geena Davis, Michelle Feiffer or even Jodie Foster rather than the 54-year-old Streisand trying to portray a 40-something late bloomer.
Since 'The Mirror Has Two Faces', Streisand's film career has plummeted to Razzie-nominated leading and supporting roles and 'Mirror' seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for Streisand's all too descending Hollywood career. Stick to being the greatest singer of our generation, and you'll be alright, Babs! Nonetheless, our girl did manage to increase her ego FURTHER by receiving an Oscar nomination for co-writing "I Finally Found Someone" - the picture's theme song - now, to mention it; I did think it was a catchy duet with Bryan Adams - Streisand's first significant hit since 1981.