in about 100 words or less
USA 124m, Colour
Director: Elia Kazan; Cast: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden, Zohra Lampert
As a coming-of-age story, Splendor in the Grass is a modern take on the Romeo and Juliet story – set in the 1920s. The film explores the themes of peer pressure, heartbreak, sexual repression and eventually mental illness and psychotherapy. This is certainly not your typical teen love story, as evidenced by the excellent screenplay and the fine performances of both the leading stars. The beautiful Natalie Wood is particularly convincing as the deeply troubled Deanie Loomis who is pushed to the brink of madness with the help of some seriously outdated motherly advice about men, marriage and a wife’s duties to her husband. While similarly themed, Splendor in the Grass is a much better film than Rebel Without a Cause (Klaus Ming October 2010).