For the past fifty years, Monday afternoons in New Haven have always been the same: Roz, Rhoda, Bea, Jackie and Bette. A card table with four folding chairs (and one dummy seat). The old deck of cards in their worn-out cardboard box. A plate of homemade cookies or brownies on the kitchen counter somewhere, largely untouched. And once they begin the game, hours of silence, punctuated only by the sound of cards being plucked up or snapped down into a row along the perimeter of the table.
For Betsy Lerner, it was her routine by proxy. As a child, the Bridge Ladies, her mother Roz and her four best friends, were fascinatingly chic, with their frosted hair-dos and shiny nylons, serious about the game in a way that sent her tiptoeing around the corner of the living room. Later, when Betsy was a teenager, the women seemed hopelessly square and out of touch, perfectly content to sit idly as the sexual revolution erupted outside. And as an adult, comfortably established in New York City, living the dream of a successful career in publishing, to Betsy, the Bridge Ladies were a distant relic of her past - a moment in time around which her childhood and adolescent memories spun. Then, her husband accepted a job in New Haven and she found herself right back where she started.
The Bridge Ladies is a group portrait of these women, what they've shared with each other over the past fifty years, but also what they keep to themselves. For them, pain has always been a private matter and they've each seen plenty of it.