Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008) [PG-13] ***

It's 1923 in Memphis, Tennessee, and Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard), the wealthy, rebellious daughter of a Southern plantation owner has unwillingly returned home from Europe at her Aunt Cornelia's request, to participate in the debutante season. Fisher had studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and had fallen in love with a titled Italian.

Now, lonely, alienated and longing for her life on the Left Bank in Paris with Picasso and Gertrude Stein, the willful Fisher picks poor farm laborer Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans) as her escort. Jimmy's only claims to fame are that he's the grandson of a former governor of Tennessee, and that he once held a scholarship to Ole Miss. As the autumn debutante season progresses, it becomes clear that Fisher is an unwelcome guest at the parties. But when she loses one of her aunt's precious teardrop diamond earrings, the ensuing crisis causes Fisher and Jimmy to begin to recognize their true feelings for one another.

Based on a 1957 unproduced screenplay by Tennessee Williams, this period drama features an incredibly compelling performance by Bryce Dallas Howard, one of the most underappreciated actresses of her generation. The direction by Jodie Markell, who reveres Tennessee Williams and had read everything he had written by the time she was seventeen, is sensitive and insightful, although the pacing is rather slow, and the staging is reminiscent of a stageplay. Filmed in Louisiana, the cinematography, costumes and sets are excellent, and supporting performances are outstanding, especially Ann-Margret as Aunt Cornelia and Ellen Burstyn. If you are a fan of Tennessee Williams, or you enjoy period romantic dramas set in the South, you will likely enjoy this film. 

Labels: drama, romance

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 51/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=44, viewers=50)

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