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The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond: movie review

Adapted from a Tennessee Williams screenplay, ‘The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond’ comes across as stylized and clunky.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / December 31, 2009

Bryce Dallas Howard is shown in a scene from, 'The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.'

Paladin Pictures/AP

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Tennessee Williams is one of the most movie-adapted of all playwrights, but apparently he wrote only one movie directly for the screen, “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond,” which was composed in 1957 and unearthed after his death in 1983. The actress-turned-director Jodie Markell has filmed it in a way that deliberately summons up many other Williams productions, from “A Streetcar Named Desire” to, especially, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” The quality of the screenplay, though, is not close to their level. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Southern belle Fisher Willow, a Paris-educated heiress with a requisite nervous breakdown in her past, who frames a handsome but lower-status beau (Chris Evans) for the theft of a valuable diamond earring. Ellen Burstyn shows up as a grievously ailing belle who sees in Fisher a younger version of herself, and Ann-Margret has a cameo as Fisher’s testy grand-aunt. If you are not already familiar with Williams’s best plays and film adaptations, this musty magnolia of a movie won’t encourage you to seek them out. Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and drug content.)

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