Skip to content

On the heels of last week’s Scenes from a Marriage recommendation, I thought it might help balance things out if I recommended something a little less … damp? I started thinking about other marriage stories and suddenly recalled the 1990 adaptation of Evan S. Connell’s two novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge, cleverly called Mr. & Mrs. Bridge.

You might already know the vague outlines of the plot: conservative Kansas City father (Paul Newman) grows increasingly distant from his progressive adult children while his wife (Joanne Woodward) tries to keep the peace. The end! That’s the whole plot! Oh and someone gets locked in a garage. Spoiler alert.

But as usual with even lesser Merchant/Ivory dealiebobs (this one falls between the quite dire Slaves of New York and the peerless Howards End), sometimes other things tell the story in a better way than the actual plot manages. Newman and Woodward do alllll of the heavy lifting (such as it is); once the movie is over, you can barely remember anyone else who was in it; that’s how good they are. But I mean: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Why are you looking for anything else?

But ha ha, the joke’s on me because after revisiting it thirty years later, I was surprised that it’s just as unsentimental and clear-eyed about the idea of wedded bliss as Scenes from a Marriage—though it is occasionally a sweet and warm kind of tender, and the production design does soften the blow a bit. Ultimately, it’s a lovely, thoughtful movie that’s worth a Saturday afternoon.

I promise next time I’ll recommend something hilarious and light. Or Howards End.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • I saw this when it came out, and then read both books (highly recommended). Perfect time for a rewatch, especially with close to 30 years of marriage under my belt since the first watching.
    And like you say – Newman and Woodward, what could be better…..

    • There is no better movie than Howard’s End. I am not one for rewatching movies. Thsy one I have seen many many times.

  • I loved this movie when it came out. So many moments in the movie reminded me of my grandparents (although neither of my grandfathers looked like Paul Newman!). I will have to seek it out, and watch it again from the persepctive of a diffeent age. (and yes, the books are highly recommended)

  • I’ve never seen this one. Perfect idea. I’m going to knit and watch this movie on this lovely rainy Saturday ☔️

  • If you want another delicious Newman/Woodward “marriage story,” try From the Terrace. I can’t look away when I see it on the schedule!

  • These are great books and should be read before watching. For a hilarious and completely mindless romp…Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

  • Thanks for introducing me to this film, it sounds like a perfect rainy day movie to knit to.

  • Howard’s End is always the right thing to watch. Or Brideshead Revisited.

  • I never saw this, but suspect I may not have had as much understanding when it came out as I do now. And Newman and Woodward? There’s no dreamier couple, at any age.

  • Still cannot go to Kansas City and go through certain parts of town without thinking of that film.

  • Howard’s End
    Remains of the Day
    Room with a View.

    Enough Said.

  • I LOVE this movie! We use quotes from it regularly “You’ll bring me my change!”

  • Scenes From a Marriage … this was so powerful that I almost changed my college major to the history of film. Our teacher was amazing. He’d bring in all these old black-and-white classics for a class of bored 18 year olds to watch and every darn time, we’d be glued to the screen within the first three minutes. What an education in good art!

  • Merchant Ivery Howards End and also more recent 4-part version with Hayley Atwell and Matthew McFadyen. Both are beautiful for different reasons.

    I will definitely check Mr and Mrs Bridge – both books and film.

    Other marriage portrait-type films I could watch over and over (although not quite as light maybe??):

    The Lion in Winter (Hepburn and O’Toole sparring with spectularly good dialogue)

    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Hepburn again with Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier again with spectularly dialogue)

  • Joanne Woodward died at 90 from Alzheimer’s, not even able to remember she was married to the handsomest man of his generation.

    • I don’t think Joanne Woodward is deceased.

      • Nope, still kicking at 91.

  • I live in Kansas City and the filming of the movie was fun for the whole city. The Newman’s were so nice, people would run into them at the grocery store or walking their dog. It was a very fun few months

  • AND Joanne Woodward was a knitter! Years ago when I lived in NYC, a Broadway play was about to open starring Joanne Woodward. One afternoon I went to the box office to buy tickets and who showed up but Paul Newman! He handed a bag thru the window to the ticket seller and explained that it was Joanne’s knitting. She’d forgotten it that day and asked him to drop it off. I immediately identified with her plight and liked them both…Joanne for being a knitter and Paul for being a nice guy to do an errand for her.

    I’ve never seen this movie but I’m definitely going to watch it. Thanks for recommending.

  • I’m just glad you kept the apostrophe off of E. M. Forster’s title :P. Emma, Helena, Vanessa and Tony…what a cast! Haven’t seen the new version with Hayley Atwell and Tracey Ullman

    • The apostrophe is a top ten pet peeve! No no no! Howards!

  • Oooohhhh! Howard’s End! The opening scene of the train of that incredible dress swishing through those damp leaves…I never took my eyes off the costuming.
    It took several viewings before I paid attention to the story.
    I still watch the movie just to ogle the detailing and brilliant designs. Sigh. Truly a work of art.
    The story is good too.

Come Shop With Us

My Cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping