The Heiress (on Broadway)

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

Not a movie but I wanted to review it here anyway as it’s definitely worth going to see. This Broadway play is a remake, but I was unfamiliar with the story, so unlike with most movies I had seen no previews, read no reviews (it’s still in previews, so not yet reviewed by critics, maybe this is a first!), and only heard Jessica Chastain talk about it recently at a NY Times Talk. She made it sound interesting, and gave her perspective on approaching a challenging role, which is the title character, a 20 something daughter of a rich doctor, living in a luxurious house right off Washington Square Park in NY City in 1850 (apparently stethescopes had just been invented). The good doctor (played fantastically with nuance and sophisticated nastiness by David Stathairn) sees his daughter (Catherine, superbly protrayed by Chastain) as worthless, charmless, plain (shades of Jane Eyre) and unlikely to attract a decent suitor if not for her inheritance. He has raised her waiting hopelessly for her to transform into her supposedly perfect, saintly mother, who died in childbirth. Catherine cannot win his respect and has never succeeded in trying to be the perfect daughter, leading to low self-esteem and feeling unworthy of love. Enter Mr. Right, Morris (a spot-on Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey, but without his English accent), who’s immediately smitten with her, but has no way to qualify as a suitor in the father’s eyes, given his lack of money and prospects. I won’t give away any more plot, but it kept my attention and has a perfect ending. Also worth mentioning is Judith Ivey as Catherine’s doting aunt, who serves to lightern the mood and lends a perfect counterpoint to the her brother, the dour doctor.

After the show I got a chance to meet the wonderful and beautiful Jessica Chastain, who was as nice as anything to the fans. If you’d be interested in reading a more insightful, in depth, review, see here: http://technorati.com/entertainment/article/jessica-chastain-dan-stevens-david-strathairn/

 

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