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Meryl Streep: 4 Film Favorites [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • The Bridges of Madison County features:
  • Commentary by editor Joel Cox and director of photography Jack N. Green
  • An old-fashioned love story: making The Bridges of Madison County
  • Doe eyes music video
  • Theatrical trailer
  • The Hours features:
  • Commentary by Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman
  • Commentary by director Stephen Daldry and novelist Michael Conningham
  • Filmmakers introduction
  • 4 featurettes: three women, the mind and times of Virginia Woolf, the music of The Hours, the lives of Mrs. Dalloway
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Defending Your Life
Albert Brooks wrote, directed, and stars in this philosophical comedy about a man having a hard time making a case for himself in the afterlife. When advertising executive Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) finds himself in a fatal car crash minutes after taking delivery on a new BMW, he's whisked away to Judgment City, where the recently dead are put on a sort of trial to decide their fate. If in your time on Earth you were able to face your fears and learn from your mistakes, you get to move on to a life in a better world. However, if you didn't, you have to go back to Earth and try again. As he spends the next several days watching various episodes from his life, Daniel gets the impression he doesn't stand much of a chance of moving on -- and his representative, Bob Diamond (Rip Torn), seems to have little confidence in his case. In the meantime, he frequents Judgment City's many restaurants (where the food is delicious and you can eat all you want without gaining an ounce), pays a visit to the Past Life Pavilion, and meets Julia (Meryl Streep), who seems so kind, sweet, and noble that her advancement is practically assured. Daniel and Julia fall in love, but what's going to happen if they don't end up in the same place? Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep make a witty and engaging romantic team in Defending Your Life, and Shirley MacLaine appears in a highly appropriate cameo. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The Hours
Three women, separated by a span of nearly 80 years, find themselves weathering similar crises, all linked by a single work of literature in this film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham. In 1923, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is attempting to start work on her novel Mrs. Dalloway, in which she chronicles one day in the life of a troubled woman. But Virginia has demons of her own, and she struggles to overcome the depression and suicidal impulses that have followed her throughout her life, as her husband Leonard (Stephen Dillane) ineffectually tries to help. In 1951, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a housewife living in suburban Los Angeles, where she looks after her son Richie (Jack Rovello) and husband Dan (John C. Reilly). Laura is also an avid reader who is currently making her way through Mrs. Dalloway. The farther she gets into the novel, the more Laura discovers that it reflects a dissatisfaction she feels in her own life, and she finds herself pondering the notion of leaving her life behind. Finally, in 2000, Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep) is a literary editor who is caring for Richard Brown (Ed Harris), a former boyfriend and noted author, who is slowly losing his fight with AIDS. Clarissa is trying to arrange a party to celebrate the fact that Richard has won a prestigious literary award, but is getting little help from Richard's ex-lover, Louis (Jeff Daniels). As she labors to help Richard through another day, he wonders if his life is worth the unending struggle. The Hours also features Toni Collette, Miranda Richardson, Allison Janney, and Claire Danes. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Heartburn
Though she always played coy about the fact in interviews, Nora Ephron's novel Heartburn is a thinly disguised "à clef" rehash of her marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein. Meryl Streep plays Rachel, an influential food critic who marries charismatic columnist Mark (Jack Nicholson) after a whirlwind courtship. Warned that Mark is constitutionally incapable of settling down with any one woman, Rachel gives up her own job to make certain that her marriage works. When Rachel announces that she's pregnant, Mark virtually jumps out of his skin with delight. But as the news sinks in, Mark chafes at the impending responsibilities of fatherhood, and the philandering begins -- as if it had ever really stopped! Our favorite scene: Rachel and her friends being robbed at her therapy group -- that's Kevin Spacey as the robber, in his film debut. Meryl Streep's real-life child Mamie Gummer also appeared in the film as Rachel's daughter. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Bridges of Madison County
The brief, illicit love affair between an Iowa housewife and a post-middle-age free-lance photographer is chronicled in this powerful romance based on the best-selling novella by Robert James Waller. The story begins as globetrotting National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid journeys to Madison County in 1965 to film its lovely covered bridges. Upon his arrival, he stops by an old farmhouse to ask directions. There he encounters housewife, Francesca Johnson, whose spouse and two children are out of town. Thus begins their four-day affair, a liaison that fundamentally changes them both. Later Francesca chronicles the affair in a diary which her flabbergasted grown children read; never would they have expected their mother to be capable of the passion she experienced with Kincaid. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Albert Brooks
    Albert Brooks - Daniel Miller
  • Meryl Streep
    Meryl Streep - Julia
  • Rip Torn
    Rip Torn - Bob Diamond
  • Lee Grant
    Lee Grant - Lena Foster
  • Buck Henry
    Buck Henry - Dick Stanley
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