The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008) Poster

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"Diamond" is a Real Gem
brenttraft9 September 2010
"The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," is a real gem but it is not for everyone. If you are not a big Tennessee Williams fan, you probably will not like it. If you are unfamiliar with Tennessee Williams, then you are better off watching "A Streetcar Named Desire," or "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

Admittedly, this is not one of Williams' best stories. The reason the film works so well is the acting and directing.

I had seen Bryce Dallas Howard in a few other films but they did not prepare me for this absolutely thrilling performance. This is not just the best performance of the year but it is the best performance in the past several years. She brings the character of Fisher Willow to life the way that Vivian Leigh did for Blanche DuBois. In many ways Fisher Willow is like a young version of Blanche.

Fisher is a typical Williams' heroine. She initially comes off as a selfish, self centered, Southern Belle but underneath she is much more fragile than anyone suspects. Bryce Dallas Howard is able to bring this out with such complexity and nuance that we can sympathize with a character that we should not care about so much. Even in her best moments she seems as though she could shatter at any moment.

This performance alone is enough reason to see this film.

The story follows the familiar themes covered in other Tennessee Williams stories: loneliness, loss of wealth, fall from grace, and battling interior demons. The teardrop diamond could represent the wealth and status her family once had. It is not just a $5000 jewel. It is a symbol of what her family once was and what was once the old South.

Jodie Markell does an impressive job directing. Her style is old school. She knows when to let the camera linger and when to let the scenes play out. The film does not seem rushed and it never drags. The cinematography is gorgeous with burnished orange dominating the color palette.

"The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," may not be one of the four best movies made from a Tennessee Williams story but it is not far behind. This is mandatory viewing for any fan of Tennessee Williams.
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cool evening river wind
Bogie2723 January 2011
This Tennessee Williams period story focuses on life in the south in the late twenties. Williams enthusiast and director Jodie Markell brings the overlooked play to the screen. While not for everyone, Loss of a teardrop diamond is a change of pace and refreshing as a breath of cool evening river wind.

The story begins with the character of Fisher Willow, who returns to her father's Mississippi river plantation after an education in Europe. Fisher is played by Brice Dallas Howard and is as smooth as Jack Daniels in this sultry southern role. Social troubles have plagued Fisher after her father has committed a despised act toward the southern end of the community by blowing the river levee on his property. Fisher becomes rebellious and indignant to a society who blames her for her fathers sins.

For reasons unknown to the audience Fisher has developed a strong attraction to Jimmy Dobyne. It seems that Jimmy's family has seen better times. Since the years his grandfather was governor of the state, his family has fallen from prominence into near poverty. Jimmy's alcoholic father finds himself dependent on employment from the Willow family.

It appears Fisher's Aunt Cornelia is in control of the family and demands Fisher complete her social debut. Fisher employs Jimmy to escort her to the debutante parties, that her aunt Cornelia, has insisted she attend. Jimmy who feels manipulated and somewhat controlled resists Fishers advances toward him.

The story, while somewhat tame does contains some racy scenes that center around a Halloween party where things get out of hand. These scenes would have been tricky if not impossible to film in the fifties. No doubt from experiences in his early life, and probably from places like New Orleans, Williams creates a mosaic of wildly contrasting characters to illustrate this story. With the lives of so many different characters coming together, the sparks begin to fly toward the end of this film.
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Surprising, interesting, with an excellent cast and a wonderful dramatic feel
zken10 January 2010
For those of us who don't get to the theater much and depend on the cinema for our acting thrills, this film is just downright fun. The fact that it got made in this century is a pleasant and amusing surprise. Like "An Education", this film features a few strong unknown cast that are outstanding. It also features phenomenal stars Ellen Burstyn and Ann-Margret in wonderful, surprising cameos. Chris Evans shines-has their been a sexier role for a young actor? Bryce Dallas Howard is a wonder, and really pulls off a very demanding leading place in this film. Now blink you eyes and the plot takes you to a movie experience from before 1950. But that is exactly what is so fun. Southern style romance, twisted identical twins, dead bodies up the stairs-it is also somewhat predicable but very lovingly portrayed. I really like this film, exactly because I love the experience of pulling up to a movie theater on a cold winter night a getting the same good time my parents did in their day-a warm, sweet and somewhat bitter romance with a clear sense of time and place.

Don't go to this film expecting fireworks. Go for movie magic served Southern style by actors who are real and very good. This is what entertainment is about, and unfortunately it is a lost art these days.
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A delightful drama,
Samiam35 November 2010
Somewhere between identifiable conventionalism and unconventional realism is the emotional tone that encompasses The Loss of a Tear Drop Diamond. It is sort of contrived but not too incredible and surprisingly heart warming. Although at times it can be equally heart chilling. Either way, you enjoy the feeling, without loving the movie, but it makes it a descent watch.

We are introduced to Fisher: the spoiled, self-obsessed daughter of a rich plantation owner, who is locally disliked. Fisher herself is not fond of the community but she attends parties whenever she can. She is is in search of a new escort, so she turns to Jimmy, the son of Tennessee's former governor. A poor boy who looks after his drunk father and sick mother, while Fishers only concern is to make sure she looks good with a man by her side.

We come two expect two things at this point: One, Fisher as a character will grow up, and get a heart, and two, she and Jimmy will fall in love. By the end, it does happen, but not in the spectacular fashion one might expect. Indeed one good quality The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is that it is not predictable. This is not the product of a conventional writer or a studio voice, it is the product of Tennesse William's one of America's great play writes, whose script for this must have been shelved for decades collecting dust before it was embraced. Now it feels fresh as ever.

The movie is not so much driven by plot as much as it is by a movie stealing, fiery performance from Bryce Dallas Howard. She pulls the strings of the audience as well as any good director can. We hate her when we are supposed to hate her, and we love her when we are supposed to lover her. She also does a sensational job of acting with her face, which brings me to another effective quality of the movie. It is beautiful, rich and luscious, with every shot dressed up nicely. Even the diamonds on Fisher's dress sparkle so brilliantly, you might find yourself flirting with the question of whether any digital effects were used. I've certainly never seen a sunrise as golden as it does here.

If there is a problem with the movie, it needs a little more time to invest in characters outside of Fisher. As a romance, the movie is questionable, not so much because of cheap filmaking, but because of a deliberate decision to keep things a bit distant. In fact, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond when all is said and done, is more of a drama than a romance, like William's masterpiece A Street Car Named Desire.

This one has a far happier outcome than Street Car, and I will be among the few to say it but, I found it more agreeable. The Loss of A Tear Drop Diamond is crafted nicely, with a little room for improvement, but it is easily recommendable. It is strangely delightful.
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Finally after 30 years, a "new" Tennessee Williams film
ryansternmd24 January 2010
I am a major fan of the works of Tennessee Williams and have everything that he has ever wrote that has been published. I also have all of the original 15 film adaptations of his work and all the remakes over the years. Tennesee Williams wrote this screenplay in 1980, but it was published posthumously in 1984. Then, we had to wait 24 years for it to be filmed. From my research, the film was made in 2008, but not released until January 2010. I do not understand the film industry's priorities that would withhold a film for two years. The film follows Tennessee Williams' screenplay very closely except for an added first scene that sets the tone for the screenplay's first scene where the underlying conflict is discussed but not shown. For most viewers, this added additional scene makes the conflict more understood rather than relying on the dialog to pick it up. It is refreshing to see a Tennessee Williams film where his screenplay is used. The majority of the screenplays for the 15 classic films were written by Gore Vidal to "clean them up" for audiences and censors. I will not discuss a synopsis of the film's characters and action. Instead, I recommend that if you like the drama of Tennessee Williams that you see this new film.
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How did this get missed?
dnseaman1 March 2013
From the very start of this film there is an underlying tension. Between the script (And who can write better than Tennesee Williams in this genre) the editing, score and direction, we have the feeling that Fisher is bringing a nasty storm our way. She may not mean to, but she is a selfish and spoiled girl. She meets and falls in love with Jimmy, a working class young man with a deep loyalty to his father, an alcoholic who survived the Spanish American War and his mother, who has been locked up in an asylum.

Jimmy's mix with the rich and disloyal world of Fisher brings about a series of events and though they were foreshadowed, we never knew exactly what was coming.

the film is filled with terrific performances but none compare to that of Chris Evans, who plays Jimmy. From his authentic Tennnsee accent and the way he handles a filter less cigarette (not bad for a Boston boy) to the things he is able to say with his eyes. He fights his way through the film for what is right; for the dignity of his parents and every word he speaks is free of any sort of "acting techniques". When he stands in the rain and cries, we are barely able to keep from crying as well.

This film will be a classic and should have caught the eyes of the Golden Globes, the Accademy and Cannes. The fact that Tenesee Williams didn't win best original screenplay (he was not even nominated) nor Chris Evans win best actor is a travesty. But Hollywood prefers Chris pumnped up and suited as Captain America. This film (along with London) is proof that this young man is the next generation of brilliance.
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A tense film but doesn't make you care
Gordon-116 August 2015
This film tells the story of a governor's grandson who lives a poor life with his constantly drunken father. He catches the eye of an heiress who is obnoxious and is very unpopular. He has to make a choice whether to respond to her advances.

"The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" is quite a strange movie because the main character is very unlikeable. She is rude and manipulative, and basically not a joy to be around. Fortunately, Chris Evans provides the eye candy for viewers. His character is very much the opposite of Fisher, which provides a bit of morals to balance the film's atmosphere. The story itself is quite plain for some strange reason. Though things do happen, and there is suspense and tension, I just don't care for the characters and I can't get into the film. The ending doesn't have enough closure regarding the diamonds, I think. The elderly woman's fate and the relationship between Fisher and Jimmy is also slightly too ambiguous.
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Lost but not quite found
cnycitylady15 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Tennessee Williams' 'The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond' is a found screenplay that he never got to put on the stage during his lifetime, so when it was discovered among some papers everyone was ecstatic. This story however, is far from the classics he usually wrote.

The character Fisher Willow is a débutante and an heiress, but not the usual conventional ones. She speaks her mind and does as she pleases and cares little of what others think of her, and this should make her lovable to the viewers but it doesn't really. There is a dark side to her, not unlike the dark sides to Blanche Dubois (A Streetcar Named Desire) or Brick Pollitt (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) from prior Tennessee Williams' plays. Her dark side is more innocent and tender but it is not fully explored or explained. The screenplay doesn't really understand her and so the audience doesn't really understand her. And we as a society tend to dislike things we cannot understand.

Her love interest Jimmy Dobyne is equally as ambiguous as she is. He is poor and his father and mother are not (currently) fit parents, or really fit to do anything. Because of this he walks about with the weight of his family burdens on his shoulders but you can't really get a read on him either. He and Fisher are more than likely kindred spirits and it is made apparent that they've interacted before the actual story begins but it is not apparent just how long or how well they know each other. Jimmy thinks Fisher "Too good" for him, but is this just an excuse to not be with her? He doesn't seem interested in her romantically and Fisher doesn't seem to care, knowing that her money can buy her anything she wants, including him.

Bryce Dallas Howard tackles the role with a mysticism that delves into the human psyche in a rather private way. You get the feeling that she knows the character inside and out but she won't share that information with us. Her portrayal should have been more obvious or blatant so that we could be right there with her. Chris Evans was spotty and unsure, perhaps because his character was, but again we are not confident that this is the reason.

Tennessee Williams' lost script was not lost but put away. It is clear to me that he wasn't finished with the story or with the characters. Some revision was necessary and a goal was needed because currently the story seems to meander about unsure where it is going to take you. That's not to say that the movie isn't good. This is a great draft of a story that promises interesting and lovable characters along with a plot that is both ridiculous and relatable. It is after all the little things that we do or that happen to us that alter our lives. 'The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond' is currently no diamond, but still the rough with which the diamond is made. Not a wholly unpleasant viewing. 6.5/10
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Tennessee Williams would be embarrassed
gradyharp8 September 2010
LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND is a film that tries hard to be significant and important and barely keeps the viewer seated until it is over. The 'screenplay' is credited to Tennessee Williams (who has been dead since 1983), having been written in 1957, a year after 'Baby Doll', and while the screenplay may have been completed by Williams, it has obviously been 'touched up' by someone else: Williams more than likely never planned to have the work on celluloid. The cast is adequate, given the material, and the direction (Jodie Markell) is pretty shoddy. It probably would have been best to leave this 'screenplay' by one of America's greatest playwrights on the shelf.

Fisher Willlow (Bryce Dallas Howard) is from wealth in Tennessee, but her family is disliked because of a levee built by the father that ruined the hopes of farmers in the area. She is a shallow, resented, needy, attention hungry woman, unmarried and past her Southern prime, having spent her 'debut years' abroad studying in Paris (and being hospitalized in Zurich for mental illness). She returns home, fancies the hunky Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans) who is the grandson of the ex-mayor of the town, but who spends his time caring for this alcoholic failure of a father (Will Patton) and his institutionalized mentally ill mother (Barbara Garrick). Not having viable social connections, Fisher invites Jimmy to be her social escort, buys him tuxedos and clothes to make him look like a wealthy suitor, borrows the family teardrop diamond earrings from Cornelia (Ann-Margaret), and is off to a Halloween party hosted by Julie (Mamie Gummer). On the way into the party Fisher loses one of the teardrop diamonds, and flies into a panic. She is summoned upstairs by the mother of Julie - Addie (Ellen Burstyn) - who has had multiple strokes and longs to die. Knowing that Fisher is a headstrong woman, Addie convinces Fisher to 'assist' her death by handing her what amounts to be an overdose of pills. Meanwhile, downstairs, Jimmy has taken up with a guest of Julie's - Vinnie (Jessica Collins), who has a history of being a salesclerk in a drugstore thus making her not of the same echelon as the others at the party. Apparently Jimmy and Vinnie had been friends before and passion enters seemingly binding the two social misfits. But reality steps in when Fisher discovers the developments and the social rules win out. The ending is too sanguine to mention.

The elements that were the recipe for Tennessee William's highly successful plays and films are repeated here, but now we have no character with whom we can empathize: everyone is a plagiarized caricature of Williams' popular tropes. A shame.

Grady Harp
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I love Tennessee Williams, and they did a good job on this film.
AlmaCuerpocaliente27 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very good presentation of a very good story. I have a bit of a love hate feeling for Tennessee Williams. The emotions are so beautiful and raw, and make you truly feel. But the stories are so sad and depressing. Although there is a glimmer of hope, for the most part you feel like the lives of the characters suck and are going to continue to suck, and that change (whether hinted at or imagined by optimistic me) will be hard won.

Unlike other types of movie that I like (the rom-com, thrillers, or scifi/fantasy...where all is right in the world in the end) this story is much more realistic. Life gets hard, even for those of us that have it good.

SPOILERS I really enjoyed how she recognized that she would always find her social interactions difficult, and outright believes that no one will ever love her. She is a sweet soul, but is so socially inept that she puts everyone off. I can't help but draw a parallel to Bones, where the socially inept Brennan is loved by everyone she works with. Makes a good TV show, but not as realistic. Although perhaps Williams is a bit on the dark side. But those dark and upsetting feelings do occur, and I loved how they were portrayed so beautifully by Howard. Evans did a great job as well.

This is the second time I have watched this film, and this time, I really felt a connection to Fisher's character. I think Tennessee William's films are lovely like that, so nuanced, and so many levels on which you can connect depending on your own frame of mind.
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Not fluff, and no one chokes to death on a bottle cap
charlytully15 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Voters and message boarders dissing this movie no doubt want A)a happy ending, or B)inbred southern Gothic genre pulp along the lines of TEXA$ CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Unfortunately for them, Tennessee Williams--who wrote the screenplay for THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND--did not write stories with "happy endings." That is, unless the viewer is one of those sanctimonious self-deluded see-no-evil "silent majority" types who believes Blanche is better off relying on "the kindness of strangers" about to lobotomize her in the nuthouse at the close of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. As for southern Gothic pulp fiction, Williams himself was doomed to choke to death on a bottle cap, so why need he make up anything MORE implausible to give sensationalists some jollies? THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND has plenty of pathos to go around, without resorting to voodoo curses or hermaphrodite fortune tellers. Bryce Dallas Howard as Fisher does not need to eat any crappy pies from THE HELP in order to engage the sympathy of any right-minded viewers in her quest for as much normalcy as she can muster. By the movie's close Chris Evans as Jimmy manages to swallow his pride to join her in at least partially escaping the sins of their fathers.
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Surprisingly good. Really.
hanhminh170521 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It's a delightful and lovely drama, with great screenplay, and outstanding performances by both leading actress and actor. I enjoyed every minute of the entire movie, and maybe it's been a long time a movie fully cheers me up that much. It centers around Fisher Wallow, a rich heiress who has returned from abroad, only to find out that her father did some bad thing that damaged a lot of people in Memphis, so now she's hated all over the area. Along with her own personality that is considered quite annoying (she's very sarcastic and honest),this makes it impossible for Fisher to find an escort to go with her to social events. Fisher has always had a feeling for Jimmy, a poor boy whose father works for her family, and mother cannot recognize her own son and is committed to an asylum. Jimmy is, however, not so interested in Fisher. He is actually the grandson of a governor, so everyone actually knows his name and respects his grandfather. Fisher, for her crush on Jimmy, hires him to escort her for the season. Jimmy eventually agrees to get the money to help his parents.After two eventful parties where Fisher took Jimmy with her, the two developed some drama and chemistry together. The biggest drama is around the loss of one of the teardrop diamond earrings, which cost 5,000 dollars each.

The plot is surprisingly and pleasantly simple, but with powerful acting the movie becomes very enjoyable. I've never liked Bryce Dallas Howard - not the actress herself, but the characters she played in movies I saw before. In The Help, or 50/50, her characters are really annoying, which fooled me into thinking that's the only kind of roles she does. But that only proves she's a phenomenal actress. Her performance in this movie should have received better recognition as it deserves. Chris Evans delivers a remarkable performance, too. I've always known he's a lot more capable than the superhero kind-of- roles he's famous for, but I was even more amazed by his portrayal in this movie - very refreshing and real. The accent is, however, pretty much of a letdown. But that doesn't make the movie any less good.
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It had its moments....
Sherazade21 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When I first heard that Chris Evans was in this film (that and the fact that he would be playing the leading male protagonist) I had my doubts but I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. He was a revelation in this film, even going as far as to steal Bryce Dallas-Howard's thunder (I did not like her in this, I felt she overdid it as Fisher). The role of Fisher Willow in Tennessee Williams' 'The Loss of a teardrop diamond' is definitely a tough one to essay and for a very long time I've always imagined someone like 1990s Kate Winslet or Romola Garai in the role. All in all, the screenplay was excellent, supporting cast stellar and topped off with impeccable dialogue. I have given the film 6/10 in spite of my rave reviews because I felt that Ms. Howard overdid her acting and accent. She plays a meaner character in 'The Help' but I very much preferred her in that.
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lesser Tennessee Williams
SnoopyStyle24 March 2018
It's 1923 Mississippi. A blown dam upriver kills several people and causes extensive damage. Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) returns to Memphis from Europe to find her father much hated for that selfish act to save his own property. She's sassy, self-obsessed, and has no one to take to come out to Memphis society. She decides to clean up longtime workhand Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans) to accompany her. He's a grandson to a former governor although his father (Will Patton) is a drunk and his mother is in an asylum. She borrows family heirloom diamond earrings from her aunt. She is ostracized at the party. Only her friend Julie (Mamie Gummer) invites her to a Halloween party. Fisher loses an earring on the walk up to Julie's party. Julie's cousin Vinnie (Jessica Collins) takes an immediate dislike to Fisher and a liking to Jimmy. Julie's aunt Miss Addie (Ellen Burstyn) is bedridden from her opium use in Hong Kong.

Everybody is acting bad which is fine but nobody is doing it convincingly. It's a long forgotten Tennessee Williams script and I'm not sure if it shouldn't stay that way. At least, this production does nothing to enhance it. I can overlook Howard's overacting because her character is overacting. On the other hand, I don't get Jimmy's harsh understanding of Fisher's question. It comes out of nowhere and he over-reacts out of proportion. In the end, I ship Jimmy and Vinnie far more than Jimmy and Fisher. The chemistry of Jimmy-Vinnie is already good but Jimmy-Fisher has several bad starts. Not every Tennessee diamond is flawless but even in this rough one, there are moments of beauty.
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