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|Index||14 reviews in total|
For those of us who don't get to the theater much and depend on the
cinema for our acting thrills, this film is just downright fun. The
fact that it got made in this century is a pleasant and amusing
surprise. Like "An Education", this film features a few strong unknown
cast that are outstanding. It also features phenomenal stars Ellen
Burstyn and Ann-Margret in wonderful, surprising cameos. Chris Evans
shines-has their been a sexier role for a young actor? Bryce Dallas
Howard is a wonder, and really pulls off a very demanding leading place
in this film. Now blink you eyes and the plot takes you to a movie
experience from before 1950. But that is exactly what is so fun.
Southern style romance, twisted identical twins, dead bodies up the
stairs-it is also somewhat predicable but very lovingly portrayed. I
really like this film, exactly because I love the experience of pulling
up to a movie theater on a cold winter night a getting the same good
time my parents did in their day-a warm, sweet and somewhat bitter
romance with a clear sense of time and place.
Don't go to this film expecting fireworks. Go for movie magic served Southern style by actors who are real and very good. This is what entertainment is about, and unfortunately it is a lost art these days.
"The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," is a real gem but it is not for
everyone. If you are not a big Tennessee Williams fan, you probably
will not like it. If you are unfamiliar with Tennessee Williams, then
you are better off watching "A Streetcar Named Desire," or "Cat on a
Hot Tin Roof."
Admittedly, this is not one of Williams' best stories. The reason the film works so well is the acting and directing.
I had seen Bryce Dallas Howard in a few other films but they did not prepare me for this absolutely thrilling performance. This is not just the best performance of the year but it is the best performance in the past several years. She brings the character of Fisher Willow to life the way that Vivian Leigh did for Blanche DuBois. In many ways Fisher Willow is like a young version of Blanche.
Fisher is a typical Williams' heroine. She initially comes off as a selfish, self centered, Southern Belle but underneath she is much more fragile than anyone suspects. Bryce Dallas Howard is able to bring this out with such complexity and nuance that we can sympathize with a character that we should not care about so much. Even in her best moments she seems as though she could shatter at any moment.
This performance alone is enough reason to see this film.
The story follows the familiar themes covered in other Tennessee Williams stories: loneliness, loss of wealth, fall from grace, and battling interior demons. The teardrop diamond could represent the wealth and status her family once had. It is not just a $5000 jewel. It is a symbol of what her family once was and what was once the old South.
Jodie Markell does an impressive job directing. Her style is old school. She knows when to let the camera linger and when to let the scenes play out. The film does not seem rushed and it never drags. The cinematography is gorgeous with burnished orange dominating the color palette.
"The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," may not be one of the four best movies made from a Tennessee Williams story but it is not far behind. This is mandatory viewing for any fan of Tennessee Williams.
I am a major fan of the works of Tennessee Williams and have everything that he has ever wrote that has been published. I also have all of the original 15 film adaptations of his work and all the remakes over the years. Tennesee Williams wrote this screenplay in 1980, but it was published posthumously in 1984. Then, we had to wait 24 years for it to be filmed. From my research, the film was made in 2008, but not released until January 2010. I do not understand the film industry's priorities that would withhold a film for two years. The film follows Tennessee Williams' screenplay very closely except for an added first scene that sets the tone for the screenplay's first scene where the underlying conflict is discussed but not shown. For most viewers, this added additional scene makes the conflict more understood rather than relying on the dialog to pick it up. It is refreshing to see a Tennessee Williams film where his screenplay is used. The majority of the screenplays for the 15 classic films were written by Gore Vidal to "clean them up" for audiences and censors. I will not discuss a synopsis of the film's characters and action. Instead, I recommend that if you like the drama of Tennessee Williams that you see this new film.
This Tennessee Williams period story focuses on life in the south in
the late twenties. Williams enthusiast and director Jodie Markell
brings the overlooked play to the screen. While not for everyone, Loss
of a teardrop diamond is a change of pace and refreshing as a breath of
cool evening river wind.
The story begins with the character of Fisher Willow, who returns to her father's Mississippi river plantation after an education in Europe. Fisher is played by Brice Dallas Howard and is as smooth as Jack Daniels in this sultry southern role. Social troubles have plagued Fisher after her father has committed a despised act toward the southern end of the community by blowing the river levee on his property. Fisher becomes rebellious and indignant to a society who blames her for her fathers sins.
For reasons unknown to the audience Fisher has developed a strong attraction to Jimmy Dobyne. It seems that Jimmy's family has seen better times. Since the years his grandfather was governor of the state, his family has fallen from prominence into near poverty. Jimmy's alcoholic father finds himself dependent on employment from the Willow family.
It appears Fisher's Aunt Cornelia is in control of the family and demands Fisher complete her social debut. Fisher employs Jimmy to escort her to the debutante parties, that her aunt Cornelia, has insisted she attend. Jimmy who feels manipulated and somewhat controlled resists Fishers advances toward him.
The story, while somewhat tame does contains some racy scenes that center around a Halloween party where things get out of hand. These scenes would have been tricky if not impossible to film in the fifties. No doubt from experiences in his early life, and probably from places like New Orleans, Williams creates a mosaic of wildly contrasting characters to illustrate this story. With the lives of so many different characters coming together, the sparks begin to fly toward the end of this film.
Somewhere between identifiable conventionalism and unconventional
realism is the emotional tone that encompasses The Loss of a Tear Drop
Diamond. It is sort of contrived but not too incredible and
surprisingly heart warming. Although at times it can be equally heart
chilling. Either way, you enjoy the feeling, without loving the movie,
but it makes it a descent watch.
We are introduced to Fisher: the spoiled, self-obsessed daughter of a rich plantation owner, who is locally disliked. Fisher herself is not fond of the community but she attends parties whenever she can. She is is in search of a new escort, so she turns to Jimmy, the son of Tennessee's former governor. A poor boy who looks after his drunk father and sick mother, while Fishers only concern is to make sure she looks good with a man by her side.
We come two expect two things at this point: One, Fisher as a character will grow up, and get a heart, and two, she and Jimmy will fall in love. By the end, it does happen, but not in the spectacular fashion one might expect. Indeed one good quality The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is that it is not predictable. This is not the product of a conventional writer or a studio voice, it is the product of Tennesse William's one of America's great play writes, whose script for this must have been shelved for decades collecting dust before it was embraced. Now it feels fresh as ever.
The movie is not so much driven by plot as much as it is by a movie stealing, fiery performance from Bryce Dallas Howard. She pulls the strings of the audience as well as any good director can. We hate her when we are supposed to hate her, and we love her when we are supposed to lover her. She also does a sensational job of acting with her face, which brings me to another effective quality of the movie. It is beautiful, rich and luscious, with every shot dressed up nicely. Even the diamonds on Fisher's dress sparkle so brilliantly, you might find yourself flirting with the question of whether any digital effects were used. I've certainly never seen a sunrise as golden as it does here.
If there is a problem with the movie, it needs a little more time to invest in characters outside of Fisher. As a romance, the movie is questionable, not so much because of cheap filmaking, but because of a deliberate decision to keep things a bit distant. In fact, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond when all is said and done, is more of a drama than a romance, like William's masterpiece A Street Car Named Desire.
This one has a far happier outcome than Street Car, and I will be among the few to say it but, I found it more agreeable. The Loss of A Tear Drop Diamond is crafted nicely, with a little room for improvement, but it is easily recommendable. It is strangely delightful.
The film delivered the familiar themes one expects from the great
playwright: emotional turmoil, psychological depth, and very real
depiction of human behaviour. The heroine's vulnerability and
eccentricities reminded me of the unforgettable Blanche DuBois. Fisher
Willow, someone you come to hate at first glance, whose purity and
innocence is buried beneath heaps of selfishness and seemingly
ill-natured arrogance is a character hard to pull off for any actor,
yet the young actress playing the part pulls it off with ease.
I never knew Williams had written TLOATD so watching it was a blast. For me the films based on Tennessee Williams' scripts always get high scores no matter who makes them. Kudos to the director for bringing to life this lost gem.
From the very start of this film there is an underlying tension.
Between the script (And who can write better than Tennesee Williams in
this genre) the editing, score and direction, we have the feeling that
Fisher is bringing a nasty storm our way. She may not mean to, but she
is a selfish and spoiled girl. She meets and falls in love with Jimmy,
a working class young man with a deep loyalty to his father, an
alcoholic who survived the Spanish American War and his mother, who has
been locked up in an asylum.
Jimmy's mix with the rich and disloyal world of Fisher brings about a series of events and though they were foreshadowed, we never knew exactly what was coming.
the film is filled with terrific performances but none compare to that of Chris Evans, who plays Jimmy. From his authentic Tennnsee accent and the way he handles a filter less cigarette (not bad for a Boston boy) to the things he is able to say with his eyes. He fights his way through the film for what is right; for the dignity of his parents and every word he speaks is free of any sort of "acting techniques". When he stands in the rain and cries, we are barely able to keep from crying as well.
This film will be a classic and should have caught the eyes of the Golden Globes, the Accademy and Cannes. The fact that Tenesee Williams didn't win best original screenplay (he was not even nominated) nor Chris Evans win best actor is a travesty. But Hollywood prefers Chris pumnped up and suited as Captain America. This film (along with London) is proof that this young man is the next generation of brilliance.
This film tells the story of a governor's grandson who lives a poor
life with his constantly drunken father. He catches the eye of an
heiress who is obnoxious and is very unpopular. He has to make a choice
whether to respond to her advances.
"The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" is quite a strange movie because the main character is very unlikeable. She is rude and manipulative, and basically not a joy to be around. Fortunately, Chris Evans provides the eye candy for viewers. His character is very much the opposite of Fisher, which provides a bit of morals to balance the film's atmosphere. The story itself is quite plain for some strange reason. Though things do happen, and there is suspense and tension, I just don't care for the characters and I can't get into the film. The ending doesn't have enough closure regarding the diamonds, I think. The elderly woman's fate and the relationship between Fisher and Jimmy is also slightly too ambiguous.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tennessee Williams' 'The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond' is a found
screenplay that he never got to put on the stage during his lifetime,
so when it was discovered among some papers everyone was ecstatic. This
story however, is far from the classics he usually wrote.
The character Fisher Willow is a débutante and an heiress, but not the usual conventional ones. She speaks her mind and does as she pleases and cares little of what others think of her, and this should make her lovable to the viewers but it doesn't really. There is a dark side to her, not unlike the dark sides to Blanche Dubois (A Streetcar Named Desire) or Brick Pollitt (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) from prior Tennessee Williams' plays. Her dark side is more innocent and tender but it is not fully explored or explained. The screenplay doesn't really understand her and so the audience doesn't really understand her. And we as a society tend to dislike things we cannot understand.
Her love interest Jimmy Dobyne is equally as ambiguous as she is. He is poor and his father and mother are not (currently) fit parents, or really fit to do anything. Because of this he walks about with the weight of his family burdens on his shoulders but you can't really get a read on him either. He and Fisher are more than likely kindred spirits and it is made apparent that they've interacted before the actual story begins but it is not apparent just how long or how well they know each other. Jimmy thinks Fisher "Too good" for him, but is this just an excuse to not be with her? He doesn't seem interested in her romantically and Fisher doesn't seem to care, knowing that her money can buy her anything she wants, including him.
Bryce Dallas Howard tackles the role with a mysticism that delves into the human psyche in a rather private way. You get the feeling that she knows the character inside and out but she won't share that information with us. Her portrayal should have been more obvious or blatant so that we could be right there with her. Chris Evans was spotty and unsure, perhaps because his character was, but again we are not confident that this is the reason.
Tennessee Williams' lost script was not lost but put away. It is clear to me that he wasn't finished with the story or with the characters. Some revision was necessary and a goal was needed because currently the story seems to meander about unsure where it is going to take you. That's not to say that the movie isn't good. This is a great draft of a story that promises interesting and lovable characters along with a plot that is both ridiculous and relatable. It is after all the little things that we do or that happen to us that alter our lives. 'The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond' is currently no diamond, but still the rough with which the diamond is made. Not a wholly unpleasant viewing. 6.5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I first heard that Chris Evans was in this film (that and the fact that he would be playing the leading male protagonist) I had my doubts but I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. He was a revelation in this film, even going as far as to steal Bryce Dallas-Howard's thunder (I did not like her in this, I felt she overdid it as Fisher). The role of Fisher Willow in Tennessee Williams' 'The Loss of a teardrop diamond' is definitely a tough one to essay and for a very long time I've always imagined someone like 1990s Kate Winslet or Romola Garai in the role. All in all, the screenplay was excellent, supporting cast stellar and topped off with impeccable dialogue. I have given the film 6/10 in spite of my rave reviews because I felt that Ms. Howard overdid her acting and accent. She plays a meaner character in 'The Help' but I very much preferred her in that.
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