Thursday, December 3, 2009

Movie Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

Yesterday I started watching the 3rd season of "50 movies to watch before you die" on TCM. The season has started out superbly with "A Streetcar Named Desire". This is the movie that gave Brando a name - and what a name. He is amazing. When he's on screen, it's all you see. He plays a gruff, common and quase-violent man who married a lovely girl who was raised in the South in a plantation. She's educated, beautiful - the works. She is very much in love with him and they're doing fine although they don't live a glamorous life or even a half glamorous one. She's preggers and even though he has a terrible temper, in my opinion, his love for her, and hers for him, is the most important thing.

In walks Blanche played by Vivien Leigh using the same accent she acquired in "Gone with the Wind", who during the entire movie tries to tear them apart. She plays a disturbed and ridiculous woman who because of something that happened in her past has spiralled and eventually gone full on nuts - or more like Loco Chic, because God forbid she should look silly. Vivien Leigh moves like an ex-ballerina, kind of theatrical-like, and I'm not sure yet if I really love it, I'm totally on the fence on this one. Most of the time you don't know if you should pitty her or slap her, she's so ridiculous, hypocritial and judgemental - I just wanted to slap her and shut her the frick up! I know this may sound terrible, and contradictory as well, since I really liked the movie, but, I found her performance at times unbelievable and overly theatrical, like she was concerned about looking and being pretty. There's one specific moment that comes to mind where she's telling the story of what happened to her and it just seemed scripted, like she was acting, and trying desperately to charm. A truly good performance should make you forget it's a performance. I know she is a theatrical actress, and her character was as well, so maybe she was going for theatrically annoying...I don't know, if she was, she nailed it and I take everything back I just said. She's still really annoying.

I think this is definitely one for the books as the story/screenplay is very well written and beautifully performed. It's an intense character drama so I recommend watching it preferably with someone so that different things in it can be discussed - at least I like to do that with some movies - but whatever happens, this is a movie that must be seen, so if you haven't yet, now's a good time.

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