Lifetime braved sacred waters on Saturday night, serving up a remake of Beaches, the fondly remembered 1988 feature film that starred Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.
In this version, Tony winner Idina Menzel and Nia Long played CC Bloom and Hillary Whitney, who as young girls first met not in Atlantic City but on the Venice Beach boardwalk, where they instantly formed a friendship that would first be tested by distance. Yet despite Hillary attending boarding school across the country in Connecticut, and then attending Harvard, the two stayed in touch via letters and email.
Hillary would ultimately bail on toiling for her father’s law firm and instead pay CC a visit, crashing at her very modest apartment. Things went swimmingly until John, the director of the musical CC landed the lead in, set his sights on Hillary. Though the besties weathered that brief storm of jealousy, Hillary would move back East to rekindle things with beau Brian, while CC segued into a starring role on the (dreadful-looking) sitcom Pretty Sinners. As CC’s star rose, the two grew apart — especially when CC was a no-show for both Hillary’s wedding and her father’s funeral. When Hillary made it to L.A. for the premiere of CC’s sitcom, that led to an awkward dinner for them, with John and Brian, until the ladies eventually had it out the next day over brunch. CC argued that Hillary said she would be “coming back” to California, while Hillary taunted CC for her “relationship of convenience,” grabbing John on the rebound from her.
The two scrapped their friendship and went their separate ways, until each of their romances crumbled — John didn’t want to be the dutiful “wife” of a TV star, while Hillary caught baby-resistant Brian with another woman. On top of it all, Hillary was pregnant. The two recommitted to their friendship, as evidenced by CC bailing on a Pretty Sinners comeback to be there for Tory’s birth, and then her racing out of a concert rehearsal upon learning that Hillary has been rushed to the hospital after collapsing.
Afflicted, as her mother had been, with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and possessing rare Type O blood, the prospect for Hillary did not look good, so CC moved East for the summer to take care of her and (slowly but surely) bond with adolescent Tory. After asking CC to take care of Tory (“You’ll be great, eventually”), Hillary passed away in her sleep. Days later, after scattering Hillary’s ashes into the ocean (as “Wind Beneath My Wings” plays), CC invited Tory to come live with her in California. Tory hesitated briefly, but only because she feared CC will change her mind. “No way!” she reassured. “Your mom was stuck with me for 30 years. Now you’re stuck with me, too.”
What did you think of the Beaches remake, and any deviations from the original movie? (I never saw the Midler/Hershey version, and was gobsmacked to realize we never see CC perform “Wind Beneath My Wings” — whaaaaat??)