It disappointed me [back when it opened], to be sure, but I vividly recall thinking that the Costner half was a masterpiece... But that assessment was predicated, if I can trust my memory, on the notion that Costner was trashing his virtuous image by playing a dangerous psychopath, whereas it seems painfully obvious now that he's in fact playing a fundamentally decent guy who turned to a life of crime because of (ugh) Daddy Issues.
Sally impresses Red with her psychoanalysis of Butch and finds that maybe she has a thing or two up her sleeve that they haven't considered. . . . Their interpersonal relationship becomes a secondary key to the relationship Philip and Butch are experiencing by mirroring it and giving weight to Eastwood's power at cultivating these relationships that work as family and love despite these people being from opposite sides of the track. It's American idealism at its purest, and a liberal notion.