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Tea and Sympathy (1956)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  5 November 1956 (France)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,549 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 12 critic

Tom Lee is a sensitive boy of 17 whose lack of interest in the "manly" pursuits of sports, mountain climbing and girls labels him "sister-boy" at the college he is attending. Head master ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (based on the play by)
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Title: Tea and Sympathy (1956)

Tea and Sympathy (1956) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Tom Lee is a sensitive boy of 17 whose lack of interest in the "manly" pursuits of sports, mountain climbing and girls labels him "sister-boy" at the college he is attending. Head master Bill Reynold's wife Laura sees Tom's suffering at the hands of his school mates (and her husband), and tries to help him find himself. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Where does a woman's sympathy leave off -- and her indiscretion begin?




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 November 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Chá e Simpatia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Premiered at the prestigious Radio City Music Hall. See more »


While Tom Lee (Class of 1946) is still in school, Laura Reynolds drives a 1950 Dodge. See more »


Tom Lee: Ever since then, I've been a sucker for girls in polo coats.
Laura Reynolds: I think I have one...
Tom Lee: Yes, I know.
See more »


Referenced in Making Love (1982) See more »


The Joys of Love
Written by G.B. Martini and Richard Dyer-Bennett
Performed by John Kerr (dubbed by Gene Merlino)
Song based on "Plaisir d'Amour"
See more »

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User Reviews

Rather than analyzing it to death...
30 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film came to audiences at a rather schizophrenic time, things were changing, but not that much. Roles were assimilated, but not too drastically. People were questioning things, as long as it wasn't radical.

Women were still patronized, there were still clear role boundaries (witness the scene where Tom is knitting and catches derision for spending ten minutes in a sewing circle.) Not sure why that was a crime of the century, but whatever.

Deborah Kerr is tender and memorable as an unhappy wife to the school master at a prep school who realizes her marriage is a sham. She realizes this when she sympathizes with a student and resident at her home, a confused young man who simply is shy and has doubts about his future. There are some nuances regarding sexuality, but in all honesty that was a side-story, from what I inferred.

The message I take away from this film is not simply about ostracism and hatred; Minnelli as director also addresses female emotion, the reasons why Kerr empathizes with the young man, and how he eventually moves on. In the long rung, it is life affirming, although rather opaque in its message.

Discrimination and hatred take many forms, and sometimes the subtler forms are most repellent. Highly recommended. 8/10.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The ending evenstar9
This Movie did not work for me!! SusanJL
Was 'Sister Boy' really a term used at the time? gurgitoy2
Where Is The DVD mpofarrell
the great John Alton goes high gloss danielj_old999
A few questions stepperry2010
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