Corbin Times Tribune
January 6, 1989
BEIACHES (PG-13) From her very first scene, Bette Midler takes this movie, puts it in her pocket, and never gives it back. Playing a musical comedy star who makes up in charm and chutzpah what she lacks in perfect looks. Bette is at her sassy best. If, while watching her recent wacko comedy roles, youâ€™ve wondered what happened to the heart-on-her-sleeve Midler of â€œThe Rose,” this movie shows you sheâ€™s alive and well.
Alas, most of â€œBeaches” is dead on arrival. Itâ€™s a shameless hybrid of that womenâ€™s-plcture weeper â€œOld Acquaintance.” â€œRich and Famous” (the remake of â€œAcquaintance”), â€˜Turning Point” and â€˜Terms of Endearment.”
Barbara Hershey – fresh from plasUc surgeiy that makes her look more perfecUy beauUful. but also less Interesting – co-stars as Betteâ€™s opposite number, a sleek WASP princess who becomes an earnest, successful ACLU lawyer Following the friendship of these two very different women from childhood on. â€œBeachesâ€ finally arrives at one of those tear-jerker climaxes that, depending on your tolerance for manipulation, will either warm your heart or make you retch.
Through it all. Bette shines. She sings several songs, with each arriving like a present for the viewers.
Lalnle Kazan livens things up briefly as Betteâ€™s brass-lunged mother, and two child actresses are wonderfully effecUve as young versions of the Midler and Hershey characters.
A case could be made that the two or three best written (and most sustained) scenes in the movie are the childhood ones in which the two stars donâ€™t even appear.