StoryMasters in depicting the superficial machinations of England's repressed upper classes, director James Ivory and his partners, screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and producer Ismail Merchant, take on the American middle class in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. Paul Newman and wife Joanne Woodward play the eponymous main characters: a patriarch and wife of a well-to-do family, whose members are struggling to define themselves under their father's undefiable command and the changing times.
With one daughter who wants to become an actress in New York, another who chooses the "wrong" kind of man to marry, and a son who quits school to join the Air Force during World War II, Mr. Bridge finds that his control over his family is slipping. Spanning the 1930s and '40s, the film presents nuances in how both the dramatic and the smaller moments are woven together. Weddings and arguments are no more important to capturing the essence of the Bridge family then are their moments of daily reverie.
A quiet film that succeeds in establishing its characters' intimacy, with themselves and each other, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge owes much of that success to Woodward. While Newman doesn't always seem comfortable as the stern ruler of the Bridge household, Woodward steals the film as the long-suffering woman whose identity is precariously built on her ascribed roles as mother and wife, taken for granted and often overlooked by the family she truly loves. --Natasha Senjanovic
|Paul Newman||Walter Bridge|
|Joanne Woodward||India Bridge|
|Margaret Welsh||Carolyn Bridge|
|Kyra Sedgwick||Ruth Bridge|
|Simon Callow||Dr. Alex Sauer|
|Blythe Danner||Grace Barron|
|Austin Pendleton||Mr. Gadbury|
|Robert Sean Leonard||Douglas Bridge|