To begin with: A dead Tennessee Williams script is exhumed. To middle with: A cast of talented and often beautiful actors bring to life characters who were created in 1957 but never left the page, never made it to the screen. To end with: We get to see on the screen something that is not half bad and even has its moments.

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While watching The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, which is set in Memphis in the 1920s, we must never forget how easy it would have been to fuck it up big-time. That is its most important accomplishment. With this movie, we can effortlessly escape to a pleasant world centered on an unstable but slow-moving Southern belle named Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard). She has studied in Paris and had access to the best salons, and she can play the piano with a command that is above an amateur. Her family is rich, her father is corrupt, and the man she loves, Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans), is gorgeous but poor.

Jimmy has an alcoholic father and a mother in a crumbling mental institution. Jimmy might not have a penny in his pocket, but he has a heart made of gold in his chest. Every girl (and a number of guys) in town wants to fuck Jimmy. "I asked him to drive me on the levee to see the mist rising off the river... I always love to see the mist rising from the river," says Fisher to a lesbian who is slowly dying in a big bed in a big bedroom in a big house (the lesbian spent much of her life in tolerant Hong Kong). "What happened on the levee?" asks the dying lesbian. "Nothing at all to speak of," says Fisher with great sadness. She so badly wants to fuck Jimmy, and Jimmy just will not do it—though he does fuck someone in his own class, a pretty girl whose morals have been crushed by her poverty. The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is about this and nothing else: the translation of class tension into sexual tension recommended. Opens Fri Jan 8 at Uptown.