Saturday, January 14, 2017
Bette Midler: The Divine Miss M (2014) New York Jewish Film Festival 2017
Solid bio is a largely positive look at Midler's career. We do not get any extended time in the darker periods for the film is a loving look at the woman, her music, her jokes and her influence on popular culture. It's a kind of big warm hug from a woman you want to give a big warm hug too.
The film is kind of hard to critique in any detail because the film is what it is. Never intended to be a be all and end all biography the film instead gives us the woman the the way we'd all like to see she her as a trooper singing songs. Its a lovely piece but because the film is from the BBC I was hoping for a tad more distance than we get- this is if nothing a promotional piece for the new album. That doesn't make this a bad film just one that is a tad too fluffy.
Nitpicks aside the real joy here is seeing the film clips from her time in Fiddler on the Roof to David Frost to video of her shows in the baths to her film and TV concerts. Its a wonderful mix of things fans probably have seen dozens of times and real gems that most of us never have, the Tony Award performance, the David Frost piece or even the black and white material from the baths. Its a lovely video document of a wonderful life.
Recommended for anyone looking to see a good bio and a must see alert for anyone who has ever loved Midler and her magic.
THE DIVINE MISS M plays at NYJFF on January 16