The Prince of Tides

prince of tides poster
The Prince of Tides
Film Review by Jennifer Kiley
Illustrated by j. kiley
Created on 9th January 2014
Posted On Friday 10th January 2014


2 prince of tides barbra as director

Barbra Streisand as Director of “The Prince of Tides”

“Prince of Tides” stars Barbra Streisand, Nick Nolte, Blythe Danner, and Kate Nelligan, plus George Carlin as the gay character who gives comic relief and lightens things up. Neighbor to Nick Nolte’s twin sister, Savannah. She starts out the film inside a hospital in serious condition after a suicide attempt.

3 prince of tides tom stunned w lowenstein

Tom Wingo [Nick Nolte] first visit to Dr. Lowenstein’s Office

There are certain scenes which can have a strong effect on many viewers. We are talking about VIOLENCE of the most disturbing kind.

Rare! The Prince of Tides – Behind the Scenes

My first times seeing this film were in a theatre. The totality of the film is so compelling, I needed to see it. When it first was released, it fit closely to psychological issues I was studying in my own mind.

Prince of Tides (Interpreting)

There is an under story carrying a huge secret. The entire film is absorbing, intense and the building of a relationship between the two lead characters of Dr. Lowenstein and Tom Wingo causes questions. One, he is married. Lowenstein is, also.

4 prince of tides 1st meal 2gether lowenstein tom

Tom Wingo [Nick Nolte] & Dr. Lowenstein [Barbra Streisand]

But this is not what throws me, it is the questions, “Is she treating him or seeing him as a go-between for his sister and their family and a way for her to understand what is hidden. Or is she trying to uncover Tom’s secret as well, to get to his sister’s. Which brings up the question, “Is he technically her patient, also?” 

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Dr. Lowenstein behind her office desk talking with Tom Wingo

This is one of the dilemmas for me in “The Prince of Tides.” An excellent film to create many discussions in so many areas needing the darkness and shadows cleared.

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Tom Wingo in front of Dr. Lowenstein’s desk talking with the Doctor

It is a film that makes you think about trying to understand why life happens to you the way it does, with all it’s sudden surprises.

The Prince of Tides is such a story. It is about two worlds and two families. Secrets kept in one and not understanding love in the other.

9 nick-nolte-barbra-streisand-prince-tides-1991 tom lowenstein watch violin player husband

Tom with Lowenstein at dinner party listening to her famous husband Herbert play his Stradivarius violin

I am recommending “The Prince of Tides.” Pat Conroy wrote the novel & adapted the screenplay with Becky Johnston. The acting is incredible. Barbra Streisand, when I first saw this film, I envied Nick Nolte developing the relationship they did.


Tom and Lowenstein in park watching her son Bernard [Jason Gould, Streisand’s son with Actor Elliot Gould]. Lowenstein hired Tom to teach him football.

What brings Tom to Dr. Lowenstein’s [Streisand] psychiatrist office? He is representing his family in a serious matter. His mother coerces him. Doesn’t believe she would be wanted.

Prince of Tides (Ethics)

What is revealed after Tom starts talking to Dr. Lowenstein is overwhelming at times when releasing the pain. His families life, when he was a child, had a great deal of manipulation and violence surrounding it.

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Tom and Lowenstein run into each other at one of Eddie’s parties [Savannah’s neighbor played by George Carlin]

They jump between the flashbacks into Tom’s childhood and that of his siblings. Showing a brutal father and the questionable qualifications of their mother, also.

In the present, you see Tom spend some time with his sister who attempted to commit suicide and not the first time.  It is now time for talking to Dr. Lowenstein about his sister and the whole of the rest of his family, to sort out just what is so disturbing for Savannah.


Tom and Bernard after a good football learning work-out at park

There develops another layer between Lowenstein and Tom. They spend time together outside of her office. Technically, he is not her patient, his sister is. But things begin to get personal between the Doctor and Savannah’s brother Tom .

Lowenstein Holding Tom

Lowenstein Holding Tom

He meets her really irritating son, at first, and her arrogant, famous, violinist husband, who goes outside the barriers of rude to be a pompous, rich, elitist. Hairs get raised between Tom and Lowenstein’s husband. A violin comes between them. Lowenstein leaves. Tom follows.

When I first saw this film, the relationship between Tom and Lowenstein, I felt was crossing over the line. You decide. I am not sure any longer, for personal reasons.

13 The Prince of Tides (1991) lowenstein tom naked in bed

Lowenstein and Tom in bed at her vacation home

The film is about family, class, infidelity, a pain in the ass spouse, a misunderstood son, a nightmare that gets “buried.” Trauma everywhere in Tom and Savannah Wingo’s life.

Prince of Tides (Affective)

“The Prince of Tides” is emotionally charged with love and violence at their heights.

Be Warned, it is an Intense Film with traumatic scenes some may be disturbed by watching.

A note for the film, “The Prince of Tides” is the title of a book of poetry written by Savannah and dedicated to Tom. In the book this was different. It was a book Savannah wrote for their brother Luke. It was changed greatly in the screenplay. The central story switched from Luke Wingo, Tom & Savannah’s brother, being hunted and killed by government agents, to the love story between Tom and Lowenstein. I am drawn to the romance. Luke’s story is told in the book. Tom & Savannah’s story is told in the film in a deeply moving way. 

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Tom and Lowenstein feeling the loss

It is as great a film today, as the opening night in the theatre. Barbra Streisand did a fabulous job playing the role of Dr. Lowenstein and she was the excellent director of “The Prince of Tides.” The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards  including Best Picture, but lost the award to “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Film Review Written by Jennifer Kiley

The Prince of Tides – Trailer [1991]


Nick Nolte as Tom Wingo

Barbra Streisand as Dr. Susan Lowenstein

Blythe Danner as Sallie Wingo [Tom Wingo’s wife]

Kate Nelligan as Lila Wingo Newbury [Tom & Savannah’s mother & Luke’s mother]

Jeroen Krabbé as Herbert Woodruff [Lowenstein’s husband-the famous violinist]

Melinda Dillon as Savannah Wingo [Tom’s twin sister]

George Carlin as Eddie Detreville [Savannah’s gay neighbor]

Jason Gould as Bernard Woodruff [Lowenstein’s son and Streisand’s real life son with Elliott Gould

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