(1956)3Craig ButlerPlays and films that deal with daring subject matter tend not to age well. This is especially true of films; a play thought to be dated can be revived in a startling new production that sheds new light on it, but a film is frozen forever on celluloid, with all its flaws (and assets) intact. Tea and Sympathy was considered very bold in its day, commenting as it does on homosexuality, notions of masculinity and femininity, and the loneliness that can exist between two people in a typical marriage. Now, the topics are no longer fresh, which harms the film; however, Robert Anderson's skillful and sensitive writing manages to shine through the basic subject matter. Vincente Minnelli does a fine job, directing the actors to savor small and telling moments. He also allows a considerable amount of sexual tension into the film, something Minnelli tended to treat with kid gloves. The cast serves the material very well. Deborah Kerr was born to play the role, bringing essential warmth, generosity and sadness to the role. The audience aches as it watches her discovering truths about herself and her marriage that are difficult to take. John Kerr hits all the right notes as the misunderstood boy, and Leif Ericson is fine, if a bit overblown, as the husband. Not a classic, there's still a good deal to admire in Tea and Sympathy.