CC Bloom, an aggressive and outrageous Jewish girl from the Bronx, meets Hillary Whitney, a shy and proper WASP from San Francisco, on the beach in Atlantic City when they are both eleven years old. Although they come from very different worlds and have nothing in common, they share a deep yearning for a close friend. The two begin a correspondence that continues over the years.
One day Hillary, now a lawyer, shows up in New York City and meets CC at a nightclub where she is singing. The two friends experience the ups and downs of living together until CC gets a big break in her career, and Hillary returns to California to take care of her dying father.
Mary Agnes Donoghue's screenplay for Beaches, based on a novel by Iris Rainer Dart, charts the emotional highpoints and the painful low points in this friendship as it shifts gears through marriages, divorces, career changes, and pregnancy. Director Garry Marshall accentuates the special problems and challenges in maintaining a lasting friendship.
Bette Midler shines as the needy CC who wears everybody out with her egocentric flare and her inner vulnerability. Barbara Hershey gives a subdued performance as the reticent Hillary, a wealthy woman who remains unsure of what she really wants from herself and others. Also appearing are Lainie Kazan as CC's showbiz mother, John Heard as CC's theatre producer husband, James Read as Hillary's lawyer husband, and Grace Johnston as Hillary's daughter.
It takes a heap of nurturing to make and keep a friend over the long haul of a lifetime. Beaches illustrates a few of the challenges, disappointments, and rewards of this worthwhile endeavor. With its mix of drama, comedy, and music, the film leaves behind a rainbow of delectable emotions.