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Barbra Streisand's adaptation of Pat Conroy's lyrical, passionate novel concerns romance as it emerges from the ashes of a traumatic childhood. Southerner Tom Wingo is going through a midlife crisis: He's got no job, a disintegrating marriage, and a drinking problem. But he gets a jolt of reality when he hears that his sister has attempted suicide. Tom instantly heads to New York to meet Susan Lowenstein, his sister's psychiatrist. As Tom provides Susan with information about his sibling and their dysfunctional family, the two become more intimate and soon begin an affair. As the romance blossoms, the repressed Tom and the guarded Susan find they are able to help each other with their respective problems. In particular, Tom is finally able to discuss a devastating incident from his youth. A tearjerker in the best sense of the term, THE PRINCE OF TIDES-- featuring outstanding performances from the Oscar-nominated Nick Nolte and director Streisand--offers a cathartic release and somewhat bittersweet ending that is a truly satisfying cinematic experience
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Barbra Streisand's best film as a director is helped enormously by one of Nick Nolte's finest performances. Nolte plays a football coach who is estranged from his wife (Blythe Danner) and who enters into an affair with the psychiatrist (Streisand) of his suicidal sister (Melinda Dillon). Streisand is acceptable in her star turn, but behind the camera she paces the story very well and provides lots of room for Nolte to inhabit his burdened but likable character. George Carlin is a bit token as a gay New Yorker, although Jason Gould (Streisand's son) is good as a struggling teen in desperate need of a father figure. The whole film is worth watching just to see a great moment near the end where Nolte stands on a street, a bit slump-shouldered and wearing a look of sad resolve. It's great acting at its most minimal. --Tom Keogh
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