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Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Streetcar Named Desire (1995)

A fragile aging Southern belle (Jessica Lange) visits her sister (Diane Lane) and her insensitive husband (Alec Baldwin) in New Orleans. As she clings desperately to some semblance of sanity, circumstances propelled by her brutish brother in law only lead her closer to the abyss. This isn't an adaptation of the Tennessee Williams classic play, it is the play. No screenplay credit is given, this is his play filmed as written. One of the great pieces of 20th century theater, Williams' achingly poetic play contains what may be the greatest role written for an actress (only Ibsen's HEDDA GABLER comes close). If HAMLET is the yardstick for which all actors test themselves then the female equivalent is Blanche DuBois. Lange had played Blanche on Broadway three years earlier and she acquits herself admirably especially in her last big scene. Alas, Marlon Brando's Stanley Kowalski is so iconic that all actors who follow in his footsteps can't help but be compared which isn't fair. That being said, Baldwin holds his own and doesn't owe anything to Brando's performance. As Stella and Mitch, Lane and John Goodman have less iconic roles so they have an easier time of it and both are excellent. Directed by Glenn Jordan. 

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