I saw this movie yesterday and I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t expecting to. I saw it because my mother Cynthia recommended I see a Elizabeth Taylor movie since she just passed away. That movie was streaming on Netflix so it would be easy to just sit down and play it.
Elizabeth Taylor was very good in it and shows how she can be a provocative woman and still kept together for social appearances. She really excels in the scene where her and her sister in law start arguing about her father and her husband. However, I have a problem with the first scene she and her husband, Paul Newman, have in the bedroom. Her character, Maggie, starts talking about something and she just goes on and on. I say something because she went on incessantly without any real context and it lost my attention. Maybe it’s to counteract Newman hardly saying anything but it just comes off as annoying and it’s too early in the movie to put such rambling dialogue in the beginning of the film with no established framework between these two characters for me to care. Later on in the film, when Maggie and Paul Newman’s character, Brick, start actually talking to each other and some of the other characters have spoken and added to the plot, her later more drawn out dialogues are more interesting. In the end, however, I feel that it’s more the writing than Taylor, as she plays elegance and beauty extremely well and she always manages to maintain poise while trying to seduce her husband or talking about another man she was almost unfaithful with.
Paul Newman in this movie is phenomenal. I loved his character and how he played it. Compared to Taylor and her many maudlin shows of affection, Newman is cold and deliberate in his approach. Like many men in that time, they avoid the truth and the emotions they feel and Newman pulls this off to a tee. However, he’s never cruel and never comes across as an insensitive man. One of the aspects that humanizes him is the crutch he’s always walking around with since he broke his leg and needs to wear a cast until it heals. He’s not able to be as strong as he would like to present himself because of it, making his flaws more noticeable. He drinks, he’s a failed football player and sports announcer, and he’s in a loveless marriage. One thing that does seem to be a flaw is when Brick does become emotional, Newman tends to overact. It never breaks the movie or feel out of place but sometimes you can just tell.
In closing, this movie surprised me with how well done it was. It holds up to this day and doesn’t quite follow the strong leading man and vulnerable compassionate woman formula. It has a situation to tell you about and I say situation because this movie takes place pretty much all in one day. I recommend it be seen at least once.