My long weekend with the Prince of Tides
I’ve always been curious about The Prince of Tides. This is partly because I don’t quite get the whole Barbra Streisand thing – maybe I’m too young, but I only know that she *is* admired, rather than having any admiration for her myself. My formative Babs experience was the very back lit and vain The Mirror Has Two Faces, but at the time this was consumed in the knowledge that there was probably some past pinnacle of achievement from which she had slipped…
Which explains my intrigue with The Prince of Tides – was this the past peak? Its 7 Oscar nominations suggests it was, but as far as I can tell, it’s actually pretty shite. For example, the back lit lighting and extreme vanity is all still there in abundance – Babs makes being a therapist seem like the vainest thing ever. Prancing around in a mini with the camera tracking up her shapely pins (director: Babs); pouting suggestively after posing therapist-like questions (“what are you feeling?”); sliding off her glasses annoyingly in key moments suggesting the deployment of subversive therapist-smarts. It’s all about looking like a therapist (in a mini with luscious lips).
But THEN there’s the flagrant disregard for the ethics of therapy: Babs drills the brother of her client for information to aide her client, with no strategies in place to ensure the brother isn’t horribly scarred by the therapy process. Then she hooks up with the brother, and even SLEEPS OVER in her client’s apartment with her CLIENT’S BROTHER with no regard for how her client may perhaps feel about these FLAGRANT blurring of boundaries. It’s kind of like Pretty Woman in the sense that heart-warming strings supplant any exploration of the murkier undercurrents beneath the gloss. Like rape for example – explored for about thirty seconds, but really just a plot device to symbolise the acknowledgement of past trauma, in order to allow enough growth for the Nolte character to HOOK UP WITH THE THERAPIST.
So yes, a very underwhelming experience, although I do feel a little bit more “gay” now. One more comment: I’d always assumed that The Simpsons was stretching it’s Prince of Tides parody when Marge mouths the name “Lowenstein” as if it was the most poignant piece of poetry. But this actually happens! The ACTUAL final moment is Nick Nolte driving off into the sunset with his voice over mouthing the name “Lowenstein…. Lowenstein”. So unintentionally hilarious.
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