The feels! Idina Menzel & Nia Long took on the daunting task of starring together in the network’s remake of the classic ‘Beaches.’ So, does the remake stand cold in the shadow of the original or should it rightly feel sunlight on it’s face?
If you didn’t have Kleenex at the ready while watching Lifetime’s remake of Beaches, well, you were just setting yourself up to fail. The gut-wrenching story of the resilient friendship of C.C. and Hillary, played by Idina Menzel and Nia Long respectfully, stills resonate with anyone who has loved and lost someone who completed them, just as it did in 1988. Still, while the remake captured all the feels of the original, which starred the incomparable Barbara Hershey and Bette Midler, the tragic story struggled in the rushed format of a TV movie.
While many of the iconic moments stayed intact in the 2016 incarnation — photo booths, Christmas carols, & Billy Hill songs — sacrifices had to be made for the sake of time. No romance with the obstetrician, no bras on Broadway, and no fight at Bergdorf’s! The latter, as so many aspects of the film were, changed to an L.A. scene as C.C., over the course of the film, becomes a rising pop star in sunny California, while Hillary becomes a lawyer and mother in San Francisco. Still, while the story may have had to make changes, the core dynamic of a friendship between two strong women remained the same.
Both Idina and Nia did phenomenal jobs with their characters. Of course, you’d expect the person who originated Maureen in ‘Rent’ to play another diva with a tortured soul perfectly, but there was more than just that to Idina’s performance. Where she really shined was in the deeply emotional moments, like C.C.’s breakdown after leaving Hillary’s hospital room. There’s a vulnerability to the character that Idina nailed. And, obviously, the soundtrack soared with her voice behind the words. ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ requires a powerful voice to carry it, and Idina did just that. When asked about the film, Idina explained to HollywoodLife.com, “I watched the old movie because I love it, and I believe if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I just tried to approach it like a brand new character. She’s a lot like me — she’s a performer, very self-absorbed, loves the spotlight, but is insecure and needs the attention. And also has this beautiful beautiful friendship, that I have a friend and my sister as well they’re sort of like my best friends so I just called upon that.”
As for Nia, she genuinely owned the second half of the film, after Hillary is diagnosed with viral cardio myopathy. She perfectly captured the struggle of a proud woman trapped in a knowledge of her own mortality, while attempting to keep consistency for her daughter. If you only cry once, it’ll be when Hillary comforts her girl Victoria and encourages her to ask C.C. all about their time together as kids after she’s gone.
HollywoodLifers, did you enjoy the remake? Do you think the ladies did Bette and Barbara proud?