Tea and Sympathy

Tea and Sympathy ★★★★★

Tea and Sympathy, a peak example of Technicolor, is coded to a point of being almost incomprehensible. Its subtext (Tom's homosexuality) and its text (his romance with Laura) contradict each other, making it incomplete as a gay parable, as well as a May-December love story. It's a testament to Minnelli's skill as a director that the result is as potent and emotional as it is while being kind of a total mess. Some part of me even likes that it jettisons its core didactic in order to fit safely into Hays Code standards because it makes for some incredible melodrama filmmaking for one and at the same time suggests that social cleavages/constructions do not define the core of people, and that the love between these people can transcend them. Now this is accidental for sure and largely not even true for most people (me included), but these are outsiders and its so beautifully humane in sentiment and execution that its perfect.