A close encounter of a Barbra kind begins with the biggest star in the universe asking me the questions. (I'm kvelling!)
"When did you see the movie? Did you call your Mom?" Babs asks, standing inches away in black leggings, a black shirt with shoulder slits that allow her to bare some and stick straight shoulder length blonde hair. She wears the trademark Streisand choker.
Yesterday, we went over her Streisand beauty secrets and she's lovely in person. (I want her colorist!)
Now, 70, Barbara is also here at the Four Seasons Hotel a few days before Christmas to talk about her new movie out today.
I can't say it enough. Go see "The Guilt Trip." It's not just a really funny comedy, but has so much heart to it. Plus, I guarantee, it will hit a midlifer nerve. If you're the parent of a grown child, you'll have a talk about your relationship. If you have aging parents or lucky enough to have them, you will want to have a different kind of talk about expectations and how you can make your relationship better.
BARBRA TALKS ABOUT THE GUILT TRIP AND DEALING WITH AGING PARENTS
In the dramedy, she's a Brooklyn mother named Joyce who guilt trips her grown son, chemist and product inventor Andy (Seth Rogen) into taking her on his cross-country, driving business trip. Instead of gag humor, it's the poignancy of examining their relationship over a long trip that might surprise some audience members or have them reaching for some Kleenex. Some might even have a serious talk with an aging parent after the film.
"It's a comedy and a drama, but labeling doesn't matter. This movie examines adult children and a parent. This movie tells the truth about that relationship," she says.
It was her beloved son Jason who talked her into making the movie. Above all, Babs is a hands-on mama.
BARBRA: LIFE AS A WORKING MOTHER
Barbra hasn't starred in since "The Mirror Has Two Faces" (1996). You can't count her small appearances in those "Focker" films. Fans have been missing a bigger dose of Babs.
Her son thought so, too.
"My son was recovering from back surgery and he was in bed. I brought the script over and he read it aloud. His father was in the room too because we were coddling our boy."
"My son Jason said, 'You should do it, Mom,'" she recalls. "I trust his opinion so much because he has such good taste."
As a mother does she pull guilt trips on her grown son. And she had guilt trips as a working mother when he was younger.
"Mothers do these little guilt trips all the time," she says. "When I was working a lot, I felt guilty that I couldn't pick up my son or make him cookies.
"I know that guilty feeling," she insists. "You're gone, so you compensate trying to make everything great when you're back. The kid senses the guilt."
She sighs. "Having a famous parent is also a strange thing," says the woman who isn't just famous, but an international icon. "Then I got older, and it's interesting in a movie to explore this idea of being your son's friend and not just his mother."
She calls her screen son to task and tells him he's rude and doesn't even consider her opinions, which are good ones. She tells him that it's as if his guilt makes him spend time with her. And it's not quality time for either of them.
"When I say, 'You're abusive to me and rude to me and you don't listen to my opinions,' it really hits a nerve with both grown kids and aging parents. Grown kids have their issues and so do the parents. It's a real hot button issue."
THE FUTURE FOR STREISAND
Sadly, don't expect to see a slew of new Barbra project. In fact, when I ask her "What she knows now," she folds it into advice that could apply to her career or anything else.
"The secret of my success is that I don't make that many movies or appearances. Less is more," she insists. "You need to keep a little mystery."
She likes her way of working. "I like to stay home a lot," she admits. "I like to do other things called life. I even like decorating."
"And I love to stay up until three a.m. with my husband and just enjoy life," she says with a big smile.