Mr. & Mrs. Bridge is an affecting study of an uppercrust Midwestern family in the late 1930s. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has adapted two Evan S. Connell novels into a taut script. Books Mrs. Bridge (1959) and Mr. Bridge (1969) painted (from each spouse’s point of view) a portrait of stuffy Kansas City lawyer Walter Bridge and his stifled wife, India, by a steady accretion of anecdotal detail. The screenplay presents a series of highly dramatic scenes in their lives, the payoffs among the novels’ hundreds of brief chapters.
Central theme of India Bridge’s gradual realization that her life has been crushed in her husband’s shadow is strongly conveyed by Woodward in the role.
Casting of hubby Newman as her husband resonates in their intimate scenes, particularly a 1939 vacation to Paris when the Bridges briefly rekindle their romance, only to have it cut short by World War II.
Kyra Sedgwick is smashing as the Bridges’ bohemian daughter who takes off for New York and an arts career.
1990: Nomination: Best Actress (Joanna Woodward)