The Way We Were

Before I delve into the review, I have a personal aside that has to do with this film. I used to babysit these two girls in my neighborhood. They’re the most precious girls in the world and they are the little sisters I never had. When I was watching this film, it hit me suddenly that the younger of the two has the same smile as Barbra Streisand. It’s a truly beautiful smile, isn’t it?

bob & babs

I’m not going to show the other smile, because that would be a little weird, but I just had to say it. Okay, on with the show.

I watched this movie for the sole purpose of understanding the final episode of the second season of Sex and the City, entitled “Ex and the City,” where Carrie learns that Big is engaged to Natasha and she sees him after the engagement party that she didn’t attend and she walks over and smooths his hair and says, “Your girl is lovely, Hubble.” I mean, yeah, I had heard it was a real tear-jerker, but despite my sappy tendencies I’ve never had consistent luck with the movies that are really supposed to turn on the faucets (case in point: The Notebook). I really wanted to get the reference. And now I do! So that’s cool.

I also have to say that it was a pretty weird and confusing story. First of all, sex was a lot more … implied back then. The first sex—no, intimate—scene between Streisand and (YUM!) Robert Redford is rather awkward. I don’t even know if they actually had sex, like if it was implied or what. I do know that Ka-Ka-Ka-Katie gets under the covers with Hubba-Hubba-Hubble (I’ll stop, I swear) after he’s fallen asleep drunk in her bed, and then sort of molds him around her. Uh, to me, that’s creepy. Right? And up until that point she had been so damn desperate for him. It was a huge turnoff.

So that was the weird part. The confusing part? I don’t actually know why they split up. Maybe that’s part of the SATC reference—Big never gave Carrie an actual reason—but I felt like this movie laid out something tangible and I just never picked up on it. I Wikipedia’d it, and it turns out that Katie’s Communist bent was a threat to Hubble’s career because he was already being blacklisted as a Hollywood writer. It made sense, once I read it online, but up until then I just assumed they “grew apart” or something like that. I guess I’m not too keen on subtlety.

I will say this: The acting and the chemistry in this film is as good as they say it is. Streisand, despite being so recognizable, is incredibly believable as a person because, well, she looks so damn normal. She’s got the big nose/big hair action going, but it becomes her. She’s gorgeous in a way that’s masked by Redford’s classic/chiseled/stereotypical good looks, but they do look lovely together. She’s truly one-of-a-kind, and entertainers like Cher and Jennifer Lopez and Madonna fall into the same category with her. They’re the double and triple threats of the world, and they’re fascinating to watch.