Later, Tom is sitting at a table writing. Amanda comes over and scolds him for his poor posture: "Now why can't you sit up straight I know what that position does to your internal organs. Now you sit up straight; here I'll show you. Your stomach pressed against your lungs, your lungs pressed against your heart, and that poor little heart gets discouraged 'cause it hasn't got any room left to go on beatin' for you".
But that's Amanda: an overbearing busybody who means well, but dominates those around her. She is so sure of herself and her moral values. Tom feels trapped, not only by his mother but also because of his mundane job at a warehouse. Daughter Laura is crippled and has a dreadful inferiority complex, which makes her shy. She identifies with her tiny glass animals, as fragile as she is.
Set almost entirely indoors in a drab little apartment in St. Louis, "The Glass Menagerie" is a play that conveys a lot of human feelings: anger, guilt, regret, dependency, and emotional damage. There's also a bit of humor. The story takes place during the WWII era of the 1940s. Eventually, Amanda imposes her wishes on Laura as well, as the mother badgers Tom to bring home a "gentleman caller" for Laura, in an effort to prevent Laura from being an old maid. What follows is both inspiring and heartrending.
The claustrophobic script is talky as one would expect for a play. The drab costumes are appropriate given the family's financial straits and the time period. Camera is largely static and functions mainly as a fly on the wall. Casting is very good. Acting is terrific. Hepburn does a wonderful job, except that she talks too fast for a Southern woman. The ending leaves viewers hanging.
With minor exceptions, the script and the performances are marvelous. Yet I'm not sure I would want to watch the film again; it is so depressing, especially toward the end.