I’m back! So, so sorry for disappearing for a while! I’ve had a pretty busy time of it lately. But I’m here now and it’s time to get in one last film for my Resolutions series before we shut this bad boy down. It’s been a really great run this year with several fantastic guests (who shall be addressed and properly thanked at the end of this post), and I managed to check off a few on my list, too! But this last one…I honestly have no idea how I never got around to it. I mean, young Marlon Brando?! I am normally all about that. (On the Waterfront, anyone?) Heck, I even read this play in college, but I still hadn’t seen the film until a few weeks ago. Basically, it was high time to knock out A Streetcar Named Desire, don’t you think?
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Synopsis: “Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.” –www.imdb.com
What I liked:
- Vivien Leigh as Blanche. I’ll tell you what, Leigh earned her Oscar win for this because she is a force to be reckoned with in this film. Blanche is a complicated character—she puts on quite a show, pretending to be a proper southern belle looking for a proper gentleman. But as the film goes on, that façade begins to crack, and we see what Blanche is really hiding beneath all those accessories: a woman on the verge of a complete and utter breakdown. Leigh portrays this gradual descent so well that it’s kind of unnerving.
- Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter as Stanley and Stella. These two were also rightfully nominated for Oscars, though, sadly, only Hunter won. Again, the word “complicated” could be applied here. Because Stanley and Stella really do have a complicated relationship. Is it all lust? Is there some real love there? And, if so, is it worth it? Because these two seem to fight much more than they act all lovey dovey. You can’t help admiring their passion and kind of rooting for them while at the same time shaking your head and thinking deep down that they’re kind of like fire and gasoline. Brando and Hunter make this tumultuous relationship believable and wonderful and cringeworthy all at once.
- The New Orleans setting. Really, there were certain points during the movie when I couldn’t help feeling like the city was almost a character itself. It’s wild place with late-night card games, drinking, and fighting. It’s not exactly portrayed in the best light, I guess, making the lives of the neighborhood residents look like a vicious, unbreakable cycle, but it also feeds into the film’s vaguely ominous tone. I don’t think many other settings would express this quite so well.
- The powerful story. It takes some time to build up, admittedly, but once it does and you realize exactly what’s going on, it pretty much takes your breath away. For fear of spoilers, that’s all I’ll say.
What I didn’t like:
- It’s really, really heavy stuff. You definitely have to be in the right frame of mind to sit down and watch it. And even then you might not dig it.
- The pacing is a little slow sometimes. Especially toward the beginning. Once the film finds its groove it’s a pretty compelling story—you just have to have the patience to get there.
- It’s not exactly one I care to see again. I think everybody has one and done films like that, yeah? Streetcar could very well be one of those for me. I guess it’s just kind of a downer, and I am very rarely into downer films.
A Worthy Resolution? I would say so. It’s not my favorite classic film ever, but it’s worth a watch for the performances and the grim but compelling story. If you’re a Brando fan or you want to see a really phenomenal performance from Vivien Leigh, I’d say check it out. If neither of those factors interests you, then you should just watch a happier classic instead.
My Grade: B+
Well that’s all, folks! Another round of film resolutions successfully fulfilled! As always, it’s been a great run, and I just wanted to take a minute to thank the wonderful ladies and gentlemen who decided to contribute this year. And those fine individuals are:
- Ashley of Box Office Buzz – Back to the Future Trilogy
- Anna of Film Grimoire – Rambo: First Blood
- Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews – 12 Angry Men
- Zoë of The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger – How to Train Your Dragon
- Rob of MovieRob – We Need to Talk About Kevin and Rosemary’s Baby
- Kim of Tranquil Dreams – Battle Royale
- My friend Brittney (who, alas, has no blog) – Bernie
You people are the best!! Words cannot express how grateful I am any time any of you take time out of your busy schedules to contribute something to one of my blog series. No exception here. Y’all are rockstars. 🙂
Anyway, so I’m going to try to get out at least one more post in this week and make an effort to get back into a more regular schedule—particularly since I was such a lazy bones last couple of weeks and posted jack squat. I’ve got a ton of things I need to discuss. Here’s hoping I can find the time to sit down and write about them! Hope your week is off to a good start, kiddos!