The film depicts the friendship of two girls, Cecelia "CC" Bloom (Midler) and Hillary Whitney (Hershey), from very different backgrounds and different parts of the country. When they grow up we see this friendship go through many ups and downs the course of their lives.
Was remade in 2017 by the Lifetime cable network, with Idina Menzel and Nia Long starring.
This film shows examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Name Change: Hillary Whitney is known as "Roberta White" in the original novel (and nicknamed "Bertie"). Her daughter's name also changed between adaptations, from "Nina Rose Barron" to "Victoria Cecile Essex".
- In a minor example, Cecelia's nickname is spelled as "Cee Cee" in the novel and "CC" in the film (as she's given the middle name Carol).
- Age Lift: In the novel, the two girls meet at the ages of ten (Cee Cee) and seven (Bertie). In the film, CC and Hillary are both eleven in their first meeting. The novel also depicts their first reunion as happening in their teens, while the film has them reunite in their mid-twenties.
- Award-Bait Song: "Wind Beneath my Wings."
- Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Early in her career, CC takes a job that requires her to wear a bunny costume (think Easter, not Playboy) and deliver singing telegrams as "your darling bunny-girl Barbara."
- Bawdy Song: "Otto Titzling," a raunchy little number about the man apocryphally credited with inventing the first bra. It's part of a thoroughly tasteless revue CC stars in for the Money, Dear Boy.
- Book-Ends: The song "The Glory of Love." CC sings it in the kiddie revue she performs in on the day she and Hillary first meet. She sings it again to close out her concert at the end of the movie, and it fades to black as she starts to tell Victoria about that day.
- Dyeing for Your Art: In-universe, CC briefly dyes her hair blonde in a misguided attempt at landing a role. In a show of solidarity, Hillary also dyes her hair... and winds up with the exact same color she had before.
- Disappeared Dad: CC's dad, and then later Victoria's.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Hillary.
- Missing Mom: Hillary's mom died when she was very young and later in the film Hillary becomes this to Victoria.
- Mistaken for Gay: CC briefly mistakes Hillary for a lesbian fan when the latter approaches her for the first time they've met in person since they were children.
- Narcissist: CC, and her mom calls her out on it.
- Nouveau Riche: When CC and Hillary have a fight, Hillary calls CC this, due to some of the roles CC took.
- Opposites Attract
- Parental Substitute: CC becomes one to Victoria as Hillary grows weaker and ultimately passes away.
- Photo Booth Montage
- Pretty in Mink: CC and Hillary each wear a few lovely furs throughout the movie.
- Shrinking Violet: Hillary is this, though CC later says she had always admired Hillary's strength.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the original novel, a teenage CC learns that her mother has died of a heart attack. The film averts this, instead showing Leona to have moved away to Florida and bringing her back for the scene where she calls out her now-adult daughter on her behavior.
- Stage Mom: CC's mother is one of these.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: CC smoked cigarettes as a child, and she offers Hillary one to calm her nerves when she's distraught over being lost.
- Your Cheating Heart: Hillary comes home early from a business trip one day and finds another woman wearing her bathrobe and having breakfast with her husband. She divorces him shortly afterward.