Sweet Bird of Youth Reviews
Cut to the 1980's and Elizabeth Taylor who in many ways at the time was not so big a movie star as she had been but was much in demand on television. Slimmed down and revitalized after the 1970's age of fat she was in her final bloom of beauty and at the top of her talent. A woman playing a star who really understood more than anyone alive what being a star of mega wattage meant. She had lived it, survived it and was triumphing over it. She was the anti Alexandra Delago who nearly had become Alexandra Delago but somehow managed to swerve and avoid that porcupine in the road of fame and live to tell about it. She was perfect casting for this T.V. movie of the play. And she had an understanding of Williams' poetry having done, "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof", "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Boom".
The supporting cast turns in some fine performances. In particular, Rip Torn, and Valerie Perrine shine in their roles. Mark Harman is just the right age to play Chance Wayne a gigolo on the edge of losing his looks and too obsessed with the past to take the one last opportunity Alexandra offers him to become what he thinks he wants to be, a star.
But it is Taylor's movie all the way. From her incredible early close-ups at the beach cabana to her final scene she commands the role as no other actress of her generation could. She inhabits the roll with a worldly understanding that under the monster that Alexandra has become there is still a human being who can reach out to help another even if it is too little too late. She also brings to the film a reality from her real life that no other actress, even the best method actresses around could muster. This adds a glittering and chilling edge to the performance. It is brilliant work in a lesser medium by a star and actress who was the master of blending fact and fiction as no one else quite can.