When two random and different kids meet at an amusement park or at a beach carnival, you don't actually think that they will follow up on each other given that one is being shipped to a boarding school whilst the other will stay and work for living. But CC Bloom (Idina Menzel) and Hillary Whitney (Nia Long) do in Lifetime's remake of the Bette Midler/Barbara Hershey classic Beaches.
I actually didn't manage to watch the original (yet!) but I think this updated version is what defines a remake, to most people. Reading about the story of the previous film, it is the same as this new one. The setting is most likely the thing that differs in that CC and Hillary use mobile phones and pagers whereas in the previous, mobile phones and the Internet weren't invented yet, so it's snail mail or the conventional phone. And instead of the East Coast, they made it the West Coast.
Both Menzel and Long are fantastic and have that certain dynamic that, say, Rachel and Monica in FRIENDS have. The banters and arguments they show makes you believe in their friendship so much and that makes them so relatable. As with family, friends need to have a yin and a yang for balance and Menzel and Long certainly have that. As a fan of Idina, I can certainly say that she has a very strong personality that her most famous Broadway role - Elphaba in Wicked - is a perfect fit for her. Nia has that sweet and charming personality which is a great contrast to Menzel's. The casting of these two couldn't have been perfect.
One of the scenes that is memorable to me is when CC, after missing quite a few important events in her friend's life, rushes by her side when something comes up and cutting an important event in her own life. By doing that, she defines the real meaning of a true and loyal friend, that no matter where you are, what you're in the middle of, you're going to stop because you're the only one your best friend has and she needs you at her side.
The music, of course, is what made the original movie popular. Menzel sings all of the songs but there's a really good scene where she and Long do a duet. I'm also assuming Menzel was putting the finishing touches of her latest album, idina., whilst doing the movie so there is a sneaky song from that album in this film - and no Idina fans! It's not "Queen Of Swords" so you have 11 more choices (13 if you have the Target edition). Menzel also acted as one of the executive music producers.
This remake keeps the glory of the original alive. Probably even a bit more so. Watch it with your best friend when Beaches airs on the Lifetime Network on 21 January (the same weekend that the original was released in theaters) at 8/7c. The soundtrack will be available for purchase on 13 January. Idina Menzel's version of "Wind Beneath My Wings" is now available for download and streaming.