The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond
Director: Jodie Markell
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Will Patton, Ann-Margret, Mamie Gummer, Jessica Collins, Ellen Burstyn, Zach Grenier
Seen on: 6.11.2016
Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) has spent some time overseas. Now she’s back home and supposed to come out to society. But while she was gone, her father caused some trouble in their town and is now hated. Fisher herself is rather wild and outspoken. The two things in combination leave her rather ostracized. She can’t even find a date to accompany her. So she pays Jimmy (Chris Evans) to accompany her. Jimmy’s family used to have a big name, but they have since fallen in standing. And Jimmy has his fair share of troubles to contend with, but he desperately needs the money.
I do wonder why nobody ever talks about The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. Not only is it by Tennessee Williams (a “lost screenplay” that resurfaced 50 years after it was written), it’s a really good film.
After watching this film, I had to state once more that Williams really doesn’t do happy, does he? But what he does do, and wonderfully, is complex women. Case in point: Fisher, who made me fall in love with her, then broke my heart as layer after layer of her bravado are peeled away. Bryce Dallas Howard is fantastic in her portrayal of Fisher who tries so hard and never really has a chance.
But it’s not just she who’s a complex and unusual character, Jimmy is too. He defies the usual nice guy vs. asshole dynamic and is both at once in an interesting mix. Chris Evans was a really good choice for this role that goes slightly against type, but not really. Also, he’s gorgeous enough to pull it off.
It’s interesting that the film starts with a role reversal: it’s rare that we get the rich woman paying the poor man to be her escort, a role that gives her most of the power in the relationship. And Jimmy just can’t handle it, this power dynamic really cannot stand and if he has to break Fisher for it, so be it. Not that it’s a conscious decision on his part, that’s what it boils down to.
So this is really not a happy film and Markell perfectly captures the pain that comes with it. It’s only the very last image of the film that is too sweet for the bitterness that came before it. But the film shall be forgiven for that one bit, especially since everything that came before it is really good.