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December 27, 2009

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond

TEARDROP-final-one-sheet-art-405x600 Actress-cum-director Jodie Marshall brings a studied adaptation of Tennessee Williams unpublished and unproduced screenplay that lays bare the material’s less than cinematic trappings. Even as a minor work however, the story retains Williams’s consummate mastery at conveying a Southern Gothic philosophy that was his stock and trade. Set in the era of Fitzgerald’s early ’20s “Great Gatsby,” the story follows poor-little-rich-girl Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard). Fisher’s ruthless father has earned the scorn of the Mississippi Delta by flooding a levee on his plantation, causing the death of several farmers. Intent on reinventing herself, Fisher hires Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans), the stud son of a drunk that runs her father’s plantation store, to escort her to the debutante ball in the guise of the grandson of a past governor. Upon arrival, Fisher loses a high-priced diamond earring borrowed from her disapproving aunt, and Jimmy feels accused in spite of Fisher’s protestations. The drama deflates as Fisher takes a break from the party to visit with Miss Addie (Ellen Burstyn), the mansion’s bedridden matriarch who begs Fisher to assist in her suicide. Carrying some complimenting bodily heft, Bryce Dallas Howard convinces in the role of Williams’s “mad heroine,” while Chris Evans fails to fill his character’s potentially light loafers.

Rated PG-13. 82 mins. (B-) (Three Stars)


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