What You Need To Know:
Sadly, the story and characters in THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND are not as captivating as the more famous works by Williams. The actors do a good job, however, and the set designs, costumes, and photography are excellent. A euthanasia subplot is not only morally heinous, and it adds nothing to the rest of the story. Despite some other, more moral elements, the story’s focus is not moral overall. Instead, characters mostly behave out of personal gain and calculation, in an emotional way.
(PaPa, Ro, B, AbAb, L, V, S, N. AA, DD, MM) Strong mixed, pagan worldview with Romantic, moral, and strong immoral elements, including an overtly pro-euthanasia subplot and man convinces girl not to steal diamond earring; one obscenity, one GD, and four light profanities; light violence includes landowner and his men blow up some levees, and it is later revealed that a couple people drowned because of it, and woman helps an elderly incapacitated woman commit suicide by feeding her pills; implied fornication in one scene after some heavy clenching and kissing; upper male nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; some smoking and elderly woman talks about the joys of taking the drug opium; and, scenes of madness as young man visits his mother in an insane asylum and rebellion.
THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND is from an original screenplay written by acclaimed playwright Tennessee Williams (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE) in his heydey during the 1950s. Like many of his works, it focuses on the character of a flighty Southern belle.
Set in the Roaring Twenties in Memphis, the main character is Fisher Willow (played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard’s daughter). Fisher is a headstrong young heiress who rebels against the constraints of “proper” society. She hires the poor but handsome son of her father’s drunken caretaker, Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans), to escort her to the major debutante parties of the season. Though Jimmy is the grandson of a former governor, his family has fallen on hard times.
While Jimmy escorts Fisher, both are dressed to the nines, with Fisher wearing her aunt’s $10,000 teardrop diamonds. After a couple parties, Fisher decides she’s falling in love with Jimmy, but Jimmy is not ready to accept this turn of events. Then, at a Halloween party held by her friend, Julie, Fisher loses one of her expensive earrings. When she asks Jimmy if the earring accidentally fell into his pocket, Jimmy considers it a grave insult suggesting that he stole the earring. Jimmy demands to be searched by the older chaperones at the party, who find nothing.
The tension between Fisher and Jimmy at the party mounts when Jimmy shows interest in an old flame who works in a local drugstore. Meanwhile, Julie’s stroke-impaired elderly grandmother, Addie, confined to a bed upstairs, asks Fisher to help her commit suicide with a bottle of pills Addie cannot reach.
Tennessee Williams wrote about people on the outskirts of society or people with problems or quirks that could turn them into an outsider. Also, madness is a key theme that hovers within his work. Both things are the case with this movie. The male lead visits his mother in a mental asylum, and, later, Fisher reveals she had a nervous breakdown in Europe and had to “go away” to recover. Finally, Fisher’s rebellious attitudes make her an oddity among the young rich crowd in Memphis.
Sadly, the story and characters in THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND are not as captivating or dramatically inspiring as the other, more famous works by Williams. The actors do a good job, however, and the set designs, costumes, and photography are excellent, so the movie eventually holds one’s interest.
Regrettably, the euthanasia subplot is not only morally heinous; it also adds nothing to the rest of the story. Though the hero talks his old flame out of stealing Fisher’s diamond earring, the story’s focus is not a moral one overall. Instead, characters mostly behave out of personal gain and calculation, in an emotional way, without a rational, biblical foundation.