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Director Garry Marshall's 1988 drama Beaches about the 30-year friendship between two women, one wealthy (Barbara Hershey) and the other (Bette Midler) seeking her fortune in show business, is well written (based on the novel by Iris Rainer Dart) and nicely textured in its contrast between the characters' separate destinies. When Hershey becomes ill with cancer, the film takes a predictably sentimental course, yet Marshall brings out the best in both actresses and catches some very fine drama. Beaches is a little too long, perhaps, but overall it is a fine experience. --Tom Keogh