Fifty Years in the Making

The first I ever heard of The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond was back in 2006 when it was announced as a “serious” vehicle for Lindsay Lohan. Cue one of her many meltdowns, and Bryce Dallas Howard was cast in her place. Then I literally heard nothing else about it until last year, when it was finally released after being filmed in 2007 very quietly (which wouldn’t have happened with Lohan attached!). Based on a (big quotes) “long-forgotten” screenplay by the late, great Tennessee Williams, I was intrigued by the fact that the movie literally took 50 years to get made. It’s also one of only two screenplays which he himself wrote; in other words, it wasn’t based on a short story or play. With Ann-Margret and Ellen Burstyn as supporting players, I felt like the movie would have to be a winner.

To make a long story short, the movie’s release was postponed several times due to howling, scowling reviews. It was finally shown at some film festivals last year, and released on a very limited basis at the very end of the year. It didn’t even make it to Atlanta, so I had no idea when I’d ever finally see it. After adding it to my Netflix queue over the summer, I’d completely forgotten about it until it popped up ready to be watched instantly last week! I’ll just say that, though it was slow in some parts, I really liked it. Movies like this don’t get made anymore, which leads me to believe they followed Mr. Williams’ original screenplay pretty closely. It’s also true that 50 years ago, most movies moved at a slower pace. The acting wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d been lead to believe, and though the Southern accents were overdone, I’ve come to expect that from Hollywood, so I wasn’t put off by them. Add in Meryl Streep’s daughter and Chris Evans (from Not Another Teen Movie fame to me, at least), and it really wasn’t a bad film.

I believe the only other Tennessee Williams films I’ve seen all the way through are A Streetcar Named Desire and Suddenly, Last Summer. I actually began watching Baby Doll, his only other screenplay, and could absolutely not get into it. So needless to say I’m not an expert, but I do like the common theme of the Southern damsels (and guys) in distress, doing the best they can to muddle through whatever life has thrown at them. The character of Fisher Willow, played so well by Bryce Dallas Howard, is appealling in the same way Scarlett O’Hara is: she’s stubborn, self-centred, a maneater, and Daddy’s little princess. She also wants the one guy she can’t have, even when she tries to buy his affection. But Fisher also has modern, 1920s problems: she likes to drink, she’s been institutionalized before (in Switzerland, mind you), and she chronically makes a fool of herself at the Memphis society parties she’s forced to attend by her aunt, graciously played by Ann-Margret. The strange thing about the movie, though this is apparently very classic Williams, is that it just kind of ends. I won’t give things away in case anyone chooses to watch it, but it left me wondering what becomes of Fisher, as well as the other characters. Maybe we’re not supposed to know?

So yeah, I pretty much just wanted to share my random 5 a.m. review of this movie while it was still fresh on my mind. I’m thinking of watching it again in a week or two to see if I missed anything, and if so, I’ll add to this review via a comment. I’d love to hear from anyone else who views it as well, since no one on imdb.com seems to have anything nice to say about it! Constructive criticism is always in short supply on there, but especially so with this film, it seems.

brt

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