A New Twist on an Old Classic
The ‘Beaches’ remake is a positive commentary on feminism, BLM and the generational divide.
By Mattie Winowitch, Waynesburg University
If one thing is for sure, it’s that 80s movies have basically taught Americans everything they know.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” taught us how to have a kick-ass time playing hooky, while “Pretty in Pink” taught us to ignore social hierarchies that stop us from loving someone. But when it comes to pure friendship, no movie beats “Beaches.”
For those who haven’t had the pleasure to watch this classic film, “Beaches” revolves around two life-long friends, C.C. (Bette Midler) and Hillary (Barbara Hershey). C.C. is the classic drama queen whose wild and dazzling life was always captivating to the mild and conservative Hillary. The movie walks through their friendship from childhood into adulthood. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry—a LOT—and more than anything, it will make you want to squeeze your best friend and never let them go.
For me, “Beaches” was my coming-of-age movie. It was as if I turned 13, and my mom sat me down with a hot cocoa and a box of tissues and said, “Watch.” Although I was skeptical, because to me, the title and plot sounded a bit lame. But by the end, I was forever changed.
Although I thought nothing could ever touch this movie, while scanning the Lifetime movie channel for cheesy Christmas flicks, I saw a commercial for a new Lifetime movie with a fairly familiar plot. I thought to myself, “Could it be?” And then, to my disbelief, the word “Beaches” spanned across the screen.
Let’s just be clear that at that moment, I immediately lost my shit.
I called my mom after seeing the commercial, but she seemed unfazed. I’ll just go ahead and chalk up her reaction to old age (LOL just kidding, she is only 48—and by 48 I mean 25. I love you, mom).
The new “Beaches,” although it has yet to be released, definitely has some merit. First, Idina Menzel is in it, playing none other than Midler’s role as C.C. That’s right, the woman who is responsible for Elsa in “Frozen,” as well as the original Elphaba in Broadway’s “Wicked.” How benevolent of the movie gods was it to bless us with someone fit enough to play Midler’s role (because Midler is the queen, after all)?
And because Midler is so fantastic, she went out of the way to give the remake and Menzel her full blessing: “Can’t wait to see Idina Menzel as CC in Lifetime’s Beaches!” Midler tweeted on August 2: “DON’T TELL ME THE ENDING!”
Oh yeah, and another update for the film: Hillary’s character is black now. No big deal, right?
WRONG. HUGE DEAL. This is a giant step for a movie that was pretty much an entirely white cast—but let’s be real, a majority of movies were in the 80s. With everything that’s been happening in the black community lately, it’s clear to see why this was done.
The main reason is that, well, you know, interracial friendships are a very real and common thing. Movies and TV shows often mirror realistic situations, therefore, why the hell not? Also, to be against a new race component in the film would arguably make you racist.
However, now that I think about it, the race could play into the film’s plot, that is, depending on the timeline they choose to place the story in. However, the setting of the film takes place in liberal areas such as New York and San Francisco, so such a friendship would most likely be accepted anyways.
However, when Zendaya was rumored to play Mary Jane in the new “Spider Man: Homecoming,” people were pissed because she isn’t white. However, it was just revealed that Zendaya will be playing a different character in that movie, so the haters can chill. But even so, this illustrates that there are still people who judge roles based on race. Yikes.
But in all seriousness, this remake does speak volumes for where we’ve come as a society. Other than being about a strong friendship, “Beaches” has some really strong feminine overtones. Not to give any spoilers away for anyone who hasn’t seen the film, but both C.C. and Hillary prove throughout the film that they are strong enough to sustain themselves—even without a man.
Independent women + a groundbreaking interracial relationship? Sign me up!
Other than the brief preview for the remake, not much can be inferred for the plotline. Will there be new characters introduced? More drama? More tears? Who’s to say?
My biggest fear is that because it’s being aired on the Lifetime channel—which is known for its corny, cheap films—the remake will be an insult to the original. However, due to the original film’s large cult following, I’m sure some thought went into it. Or, at least I hope so.
Going back to my mom’s reaction when I told her about the remake, it’s probably safe to say that there are some huge “Beaches” fans who will be skeptical. However, this could be a rebirth for the younger generations to come who might not be able to relate to Midler’s character like they would Medina. My reasoning? “Frozen.” Kids love “Frozen.”
The remake will air on Lifetime on Saturday Jan. 21 at 8pm ET. Whether you’re a skeptic, an excited fan or a stranger to the film entirely, I have a feeling you won’t want to miss it. Although I’m a sucker for the original, I will be sitting there, tissues and hot cocoa fully stocked. But just a trigger warning: If you love the songs “Wind Beneath My Wings” or “Glory of Love,” you might want to avoid this film, because they will definitely be ruined for you—not through annoying repetition, but through pure heartache and sadness.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.