Romance blooms between a troubled man with a
dark past and his suicidal sister's lonely psychiatrist.
The Prince of Tides (1991)
Directed by Barbra Streisand
Written by Pat Conroy and Becky Johnston
Starring Nick Nolte, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner,
Kate Nelligan, Melinda Dillon, George Carlin, Jeroen Krabbé,
Jason Gould, Brad Sullivan
Based on the novel by Pat Conroy
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Nick Nolte),
Best Supporting Actress (Kate Nelligan), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score (James Newton Howard)
Oscar bait is a coin toss sometimes. There's hardly ever any middle ground. They are either cliched dramas you've seen a million times or they really are something to behold. For me, The Prince of Tides is the latter, and a total surprise. I fully expected this to be a slow, dull affair, but it's actually a poignant, engaging drama about conquering your personal demons. Nick Nolte delivers what is likely the performance of his career, and his chemistry with Barbra Streisand is electric. Every subplot is interesting and has meaning to the larger story. It's a shame this didn't take home any statues back at the 64th Academy Awards, but then again, it did go up against The Silence of the Lambs.
One day, South Carolina born and raised Tom Wingo (Nolte) learns his sister tried to kill herself. Tom goes to New York to be with her and starts talking to her psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein (Streisand). The two hit it off, first as friends and then it starts to deepen. More so, she is able to get Tom to open up about his abusive, horrific childhood. There's a particular moment that comes out of fucking nowhere that will stay in my head forever. It's amazing how Tom is determined not to let his trauma ruin his life or his kids' lives, although it does put a strain on his marriage. There are more than a few tearful moments in this film.
The Prince of Tides, I would argue, is severly underrated at this point. It was a box office hit, it was up for seven Oscars, and yet nobody is talking about it anymore. Nolte and Streisand are fantastic together, the subject matter is fairly relatable, the score is gorgeous, and the message is powerful. Don't internalize your pain. Let it out, work through it, and you'll be okay.