[Note: The following review is of a non-Peary title; click here to read more.]
“I can’t keep her away from the stuff if she’s determined to get at it!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Bolstered by a brave, nuanced, and sympathetic central performance by Hayward, the Oscar-nominated script manages to portray the insidious effects of alcoholism (still a mostly misunderstood disease at the time) within the context of a woman who is subconsciously devastated by the “need” to give up her own career for the presumed ideal of marriage and motherhood. Despite the overly simplistic rationale provided for why Hayward drinks too much (while she once drank for courage on stage, she’s soon drinking to assuage her increasing feelings of jealousy and inadequacy), it’s nonetheless impressive to watch a film about marital dysfunction in which neither party is truly to blame. Knowing as we do now that alcoholism is an addiction, it’s painful to watch Bowman treating Hayward with such disdain late in their marriage — but his actions and attitude are somewhat understandable, given that she really does make a mess of things. We are genuinely rooting for both these individuals throughout the entire film — a rare and worthy feat for a movie of this kind.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: