Beaches (also known as Forever Friends), is a 1988 American comedy-drama film adapted by Mary Agnes Donoghue from the Iris Rainer Dart novel of the same name. It was directed byGarry Marshall, and stars Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, James Read, Spalding Gray, and Lainie Kazan.
The film's theme song, Hot 100 #1 "Wind Beneath My Wings" won Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990. The film was released on VHS in August 1989, with a DVD release on August 13, 2002, followed by a special edition DVD on April 26, 2005.
The story of two friends from different backgrounds, whose friendship spans more than 30 years through childhood, love, and tragedy: Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom (Bette Midler), a New York actress and singer, and Hillary Whitney (Barbara Hershey), a San Francisco heiress and lawyer.
The film begins with C.C. receiving a note during a rehearsal for her upcoming Los Angeles concert. She leaves the rehearsal in a panic and tries frantically to travel to her friend's side. Unable to get a flight to San Francisco because of fog, she rents a car drives overnight, thinking back on her life with Hillary.
It is 1958, and rich little girl Hillary meets child performer C.C. under the boardwalk on the beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hillary is lost and C.C. is hiding from her overbearing stage mother. They become fast friends, growing up and bonding through letters of support to each other. A grown-up Hillary goes on to become a human rights lawyer, while C.C.'s singing career is not exactly taking off. They write to each other regularly and give updates on their lives.
Hillary shows up at the New York City dive bar where C.C. is performing, their first meeting since Atlantic City. She moves in with C.C. and gets a job with the ACLU. C.C. is now performingsinging telegrams, leading to a job offer from John (John Heard), the artistic director of the Falcon Players, after she sings his birthday telegram.
A love triangle ensues as Hillary and John are instantly attracted to one another, leaving C.C. in the cold and feeling resentment toward her best friend. Matters are made worse when Hillary and John sleep together on the opening-night of C.C.'s first lead in an off-Broadway production. When Hillary returns home to care for her ailing father, the two friends resolve their issues about John, as John does not have romantic feelings for C.C.
After her father passes away, Hillary spends time at her family beach house with lawyer Michael Essex (James Read), eventually marrying him. C.C. and John spend a lot of time together, start dating and eventually marry.
Hillary and Michael travel to New York to see C.C. perform on Broadway, where she has has become a star. When C.C. finds out that Hillary has stopped working as a lawyer, she accuses Hillary of giving up up on her dreams, with Hillary responding that C.C. has become no more than a "pretentious, social climber" who is obsessed with her career. Hillary ignores C.C.'s letters, throwing herself into being a dutiful, but unchallenged, wife.
John tells C.C. that her self-centeredness and obsession with her career has him feeling left behind and he asks for a divorce. Upset at the thought of her marriage failing, C.C. turns to her mother, who lives in Miami Beach. Her mother tells her that she has given up a lot for her daughter, and C.C. starts to understand when her mother tells her the effect that her selfishness has had on those closest to her. Meanwhile, Hillary returns home from a trip earlier than expected to find her husband having breakfast with another woman, both wearing pajamas.
When Hillary learns that C.C. is performing in San Francisco, she makes contact for the first time in years. They learn of each other's divorces, then discover that they have been secretly jealous of each other for years: Hillary is upset that she has none of the talent or charisma that C.C. is noted for, while C.C. admits she has always been envious of Hillary's beauty and intelligence. The two then realize that their feud could have been avoided by honest communication.
Hillary tells C.C. that she is pregnant and that she has already decided to keep the baby and raise it as a single parent, a decision that wins her much admiration from the feisty and always independent C.C. who promises she will stay and help her out. Hillary has a daughter, whom she names Victoria Cecilia (Grace Johnston).
When Victoria is a young girl, Hillary finds herself easily exhausted and breathless, a state she attributes to her busy schedule as a mother and a lawyer. When she collapses she is diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, requiring a heart transplant if she is to live. Having a rare tissue type, she realizes she will most likely die before a heart is found. C.C., having just completed her latest album, accompanies Hillary and Victoria to the beach house. Hillary becomes depressed, which she inadvertently takes out on C.C. who she sees having fun with and connecting with Victoria, in comparison to her now debilitated state. Hillary eventually begins to accept her prognosis bravely, appreciating her time with Victoria and C.C.
Hillary and Victoria return to San Francisco, while C.C. heads to Los Angeles for concert. While Victoria is packing to travel to the concert, Hilary collapses, leading to the note C.C. receives at the start of the movie and her overnight drive to San Francisco.
C.C. takes Hillary and Victoria to the beach house. The two friends watch the sun setting over the beach, transitioning directly to a scene of C.C. and Victoria at a cemetery (all with C.C. singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" in the background).
After the funeral, C.C. tells Victoria that her mother wanted her to live with her. C.C. admits that she is very selfish and has no idea what kind of a mother she will make, but also tells her: "there's nothing in the world that I want more than to be with you". She then takes Victoria into her arms and the two console each other in their grief.
C.C. is performing in concert. After the show, she leaves hand-in-hand with Victoria, and begins telling stories of when she first met her mother. C.C.'s and Victoria's voices fade as we hear the younger C.C. and Hillary from 1958: "Be sure to keep in touch, C.C., O.K.?" "Well sure, we're friends aren't we?" The film ends with a young C.C. and Hillary taking pictures together, in a photo booth, on the day they first met.
- Bette Midler as Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom
- Barbara Hershey as Hillary Whitney
- John Heard as John Pierce
- Lainie Kazan as Leona Bloom
- James Read as Michael Essex
- Grace Johnston as Victoria Cecilia Essex
- Mayim Bialik as Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom (age 11)
- Marcie Leeds as Hillary Whitney (age 11)
- Carol Williard as Aunt Vesta