3-3.5. Very competent (great use of close-ups especially) visual articulation of society at the time, really establishing the eye of 'the other' with characters constantly watching and listening to each other in secret (or openly, as is the case with the men who watch the school). But its critique of society isn't necessarily an embrace of homosexuality, and it still has a 'bury your gays' ending.
Wyler, a competent but profoundly academic filmmaker, in his most preachy film. It just doesn't ring true: there is a clear lack of understanding of the characters, and when the script reaches its dramatic peaks the tightness of the structure makes the film almost laughable. It is clear that the calling for tears was reached by convention and not by dramatic necessity.
83/100 (Adeta tiyatrodan çıkmış gibi hissediyorum. Oyunculuklar, tasarım, diyaloglar bu ciddiyeti belli ediyordu. Ben filmi soluksuz, aynı zamanda gerilerek izledim. Küçük Mary karakterinin kötü olmasının fazla abartılması özellikle o şantaj sahnesindeki uçukluk gibi. Filmin en kötü yanıydı diyebilirim. Ayrıca Homofobi eleştirisi çok yetersizdi. Yine de kitap gibi bir filmdi. Bitmesini hiç istemedim...)
With this film and during the timeframe it was made, there is a sense of realism at play. The lack of acceptance the two women go through under the false pretenses sends a wave of hatred that is seen even in today's standards. The movie tackles many issues that most refuse to acknowledge and does it in an artistically pleasing format and I think without Shirley MacClaine's performance this film would've fallen flat.
Another rebuke to pioneering queer film historian Vito Russo's understandable but short-sighted focus on "positive representation," a melodrama that wobbles but finally devastates. Not as fine as Sirk's masterpieces of that genre or Wyler's great BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, but its refusal to spare its heroine, or us, the murderous cruelty of dominant homophobia lends it at least a rare and affecting MORAL fineness.