Thursday, April 10, 2008

Love and Mirror

-You don't use make-up, do you?
-What's the point? I'd still look like me, only in color.

Gregory (Jeff Bridges) to Rose (Barbra Streisand)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)

It has been more than a decade since I’ve seen “The Mirror Has Two Faces”.But every time it crosses my mind, I couldn’t help but smile. It’s a romantic comedy based on the 50’s French film with the same title (Le Mirroir √† Deux Faces in French). In this 1996 Hollywood version, the story revolves around two middle-aged Columbian University professors who are both searching for a life partner. The problem is they have different expectations about married life. Gregory, a math doctorate, wants an “intellectual” and platonic marriage due to his idea that physical attraction complicates a relationship (as he deduced from his past relations with the opposite sex). Rose (a Ph.D. holder in literature), on the other hand, wants romance aside from the “meeting of minds.”

I don’t want to spoil the movie for you (if you wish to see it) by telling you the circumstance of their meeting and how they agreed to get married despite their seemingly diverging notions about marriage. I said “seemingly” because I believe they both want the same thing --- understanding, respect coupled with physical attraction. I suppose their true matrimonial notions are just clouded by their hang-ups about relationships combined with their own eccentricities.

The premise of their marriage is that it would be like any other married couple except that it would be strictly nonphysical. However, aside from being in tune with each other on an intellectual level, I think they found each other physically attractive. This is more evident with Rose who dreams of fireworks and symphony in the air when she looks at her partner. With Gregory, I think in some way, is in turn also physically attracted to plain, “make-up less” Rose --- he wasn’t aware of this, of course, what with his angst about physical contact .And I believe this is proven in the end. They were able to somehow resolve their issues and they realized that they truly love each other --- both in the physical and intellectual level; make-up or no make-up *grins*.

Some critics don’t like this movie (they think the film is a bit overboard about the ugly duckling-turning-into-a-swan theme, especially with Streisand in the lead role), but I really like it. There are many funny one-line punch (well, make that two-to-three punch lines) and comical conversations. But despite the humor in them, I find that there are underlying truths. And I believe them.

In addition, I love Rose’s wit and candid repartee. She’s intelligent although a little bit preoccupied with her looks(well, I couldn’t blame her, what with her beautiful sister and mother); pragmatic while still holding on to some childhood fantasies; warm but can be scathing at times. I don’t have a doctorate degree in literature (though I wish I have *sigh*) but I can identify with Rose. We have some idiosyncrasies in common. Perhaps, that's why I like this film (and maybe the reason why, after all these years, I have a clear memory of it). And I think I would have loved to meet Gregory: geeky in a handsome way; his troubled mind as opposed to his mathematical personality is like a game of tangram; he has weird ideas but not that bizarre to make you look for the nearest exit door.

And their first dinner date is so memorable --- they talked about prime numbers!!! And when Gregory talks about the beauty of sound waves created by an orchestra, he reminds me of an incident when my husband and I are still on our bf/gf stage. We saw this big chunk of snow chipped off from a cliff plummeting down a deep ravine.My first thought was “Good thing we’re not down there :).” (Well the access there is closed to the public, so there’s really no danger. But still…). Well, guess what my husband-then-bf said --- “Look at all that energy!” And I was like “Huh?!” I would never really forget that, especially with this admiring look on his face as he looked at the scene.

I would love to see this movie again. It's worth it (I guess) because aside from the amusing scenes, there also some touching ones, like when Rose and her mother was talking about beauty. I don’t want to sound clich√© but real beauty comes from within. And attraction can go beyond the physical… even on a first date *winks*.


From the Eyes of my Heart said...

haha i love this movie too! a love story about two passionate geeks haha so cute =)

lareine said...

yep, i agree with you:)... maybe that's also why i like this movie--- even if the protagonists are not the usual young, good-looking couples, it was still able to portray the complexities of love... and i think many people can identify with the characters because we are not all born with that perfect smile, long legs or that-oh-so-cute dimples :)

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