The Mirror Has Two Faces

I haven't seen the 1958 Andre Cayatte feature this 1996 Barbra Streisand picture is based on, but given the usual glumness of that writer-director—a former lawyer and the French equivalent of Stanley Kramer—I wouldn't have expected such lightheartedness. Adapted by Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King) and directed by Streisand, this is a quirky romantic comedy about two faculty members at Columbia University—an absentminded math teacher (Jeff Bridges) determined to have a sexless union and a “romantic literature” teacher (Streisand) who wants something more. A strange amalgamation of New Age sentiment and old-fashioned Hollywood glitz, all taking place on the far side of the moon, it's kept watchable mainly by the performers—especially Bridges (in an offbeat departure), Streisand, and Lauren Bacall (as Streisand's mother), but also Mimi Rogers, Pierce Brosnan, George Segal, Brenda Vaccaro, Elle Macpherson, and Austin Pendleton.

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