The Bridges of Madison County

· September 21, 2015

The old dreams were good dreams; they didn’t work out, but glad I had them. 


 

“I don’t want to need you.”

“Why?” 

“Because I can’t have you.”


Francesca Johnson lives a quiet life on a farm with her husband and children. When her family goes to the state fair, Francesca finds herself alone at home. One day, she receives an unexpected visitor, Robert Kincaid, a photographer for National Geographic who is visiting Madison County to take photos of old bridges.

They quickly fall into a passionate love affair.

This Clint Eastwood (“Pale Rider,” “White Hunter Black Heart”) film was a break from the norm for the actor and director. Audiences were used to him starring in and directing action roles like the “Dollars Trilogy” (“A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”) and masterful works like “High Plains Drifter,” “Bird,” and “Unforgiven.” In 1995, however, Eastwood tried out a different genre.

Trading a gun for a bouquet of flowers and a smile, Eastwood nailed the role, alongside an equally impressive Meryl Streep.

The film’s plot is timeless: a married woman, a good wife and mother, who is terribly bored by her life. One day she meets a man who is so attractive and interesting that it leads her to question everything. Is it worth the pain of cheating on your spouse for a brief fantasy?

We’ve all found ourselves in situations that are out of our control and that truly test us. Sometimes we can’t help being attracted to someone, whether for their personality, looks, etc. If, as in Francesca’s case, we are living a dull life, without color or excitement, we’re more likely to see another person as a way out of our boredom. Our boredom and accompanying insecurity make this attractive stranger seem like everything we ever wanted to be or have.

The state of our relationship with the “other person,” our partner or spouse, can also be a contributing factor in whether we stray. If we feel abandoned or under-appreciated, it’s very likely that sooner or later we’ll look outside our relationship looking for that thing that we all want: to be seen and valued.

On the other hand, if our wife or girlfriend, our husband or boyfriend, treats as as we want and thing we deserve to be treated, and we still pursue affairs, it is because we are egotistical and because it’s in our nature to be eternally dissatisfied, no matter how good we have it. 

If someone cheats, does that make him or her a bad person? Not necessarily. We all make different types of mistakes. But it becomes a problem when these become repeated mistakes, and someone who continuously cheats and betrays a partner can only be called one thing: a liar and a cheater.

After all, no one wants his or her partner to be unfaithful. Why then do so many people treat others in ways that they themselves would hate to be treated? Perhaps we’re all, society in general, nothing more than hypocrites.