Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Entertainment Rating: 5 of 5

With the recent passing of Elizabeth Taylor I thought I’d look for a movie with her in it on Netflix. I didn’t remember ever seeing anything with her in it before and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was well praised and had garnered some awards at the Oscars in its day, so I thought I’d add it to our instant queue. The few plot summaries I read weren’t terribly interesting so I was a little hesitant to spend two hours of my time watching it. The hesitancy continued a little way into the film, but quickly dissipated as the story unfolded and the relationships between the characters became more intense. I’d have to say this is now one of the best movies I have ever seen. I’m not sure how close the film is to the Tennessee Williams play, but on its own this was one heck of a movie. You should go out of your way to see this, but expect to have to think pretty deeply.

Moral Rating: 5 of 5 - World Shaker

Don’t look at the names of the characters and judge the movie, just laugh and keep on reading. It really is a good show.

Big Daddy (Brick and Gooper’s father) has cancer and is not expected to live much longer. He’s got 28,000 acres of land as part of his legacy that he plans on passing on. Gooper’s wife, Mae, insists that they are the ones who deserve it since they’ve actually got kids (Brick and Maggie don’t have any yet), Gooper is a hard working man, and Brick is nothing but an irresponsible drunk and a has-been pro-football player.

Big Daddy really wants to leave his inheritance to his younger son, Brick, but can’t find any logical reason to. He then sets out to find out the truth behind Brick’s drinking and persists beyond Brick’s superficial initial response that he’s sick of all the lying and cheating (mendacity) in the world. Brick later reveals that he’s really disgusted with himself. Big Daddy feels that he’s done nothing but loved his family by giving them everything they ever needed or could want and they haven’t appreciated one ounce of it. Brick eventually helps his father realize that love is not made up of things. You can’t buy love. Love comes from memories made together, time spent together, and happiness and trials experienced together.

Big Daddy and Big Momma have been married for 40 years and they no longer seem to love each other. They put on a show as if they do (at least Momma does). Big Daddy says some pretty harsh words to her that break her heart, but Brick’s talk with him down in the cellar seem to make Big Daddy realize how much he really does love her.

The relationship between Brick and Maggie is on the breaking point and Brick doesn’t seem to want to do anything to make it better, except drink (which supposedly makes it better to him, since he can’t think straight about it.) Brick has recently lost a “good” friend who played football with him. Brick is seen with a lot of crutches (literal and figurative) that he’s been leaning on, but the one person he should have leaned on all along was his wife. He’s never appreciated her or loved her as he should and that’s part of the reason he feels so guilty and has taken to the bottle. Maggie’s undying love, support, and defense of her husband throughout the film helps Brick realize the type of person she is and that no matter what he’s done, she’ll be there for him - as long as he learns to trust her.

There are more intricacies in these and other relationships throughout the movie that I won’t spend time on here. Generally when when one of our reviews is longer than normal, it’s either because the movie was deplorable, or, in this case, amazing. Let me know what you think once you see it!

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