All About Eve
Let’s get the plot out of the way as quickly as possible. All About Eve starts at an theater awards ceremony in New York, right before Eve is announced to win for Best Actress I guess. They never say that’s what the award is, but it’s the equivalent of that even though it’s also apparently the biggest award of the ceremony. The winners of other awards are the playwright and director of Eve’s play. In this world there’s only one group of theater people who are the best at everything. Before the award is given out, the movie transitions to a year previous and we see the rise of Eve from several different perspectives. She goes from being a star struck nobody who is obsessed with Margo, the queen of theater at the time, to ingratiating herself and rising up to become Margo’s assistant, friend, confidant, and eventually replacement. Since this movie is 62 years old, you get no spoiler alerts. This segment is called Vs. the Classics, consider your spoils alerted.
Eve’s transition from devoted fan to fame-hungy conniver so subtle, it’s practically imperceptible for the first ½ of the movie. She comes off so loving and modest, that even with the countless hours of film watching I’ve clocked in, it sort of took me by surprise when she turned out to be a devious cunt. By the way hungy isn’t a typo, she gives off such a childlike innocence for most of the movie that to seemed the apt way to describe her. Like if a baby python were trying to strangle your puppy, it’d be awful and sick but fucking adorable. In a movie that has very few flaws, that was one that stuck out. By no means do I think they should’ve spoon-fed us that Eve was an awful human being from the beginning- evil winks towards the camera would’ve grown old immediately- but her transition from minor to major deceptions occurred so rapidly her growth to evil theater queen was as abrupt as Anakin Skywalker’s in Attack of the Clones where he went from whining a lot and accidentally killing someone to slaughtering children in the span of 3.5 minutes. Even when they explained at the end that Eve had always been a manipulative dick from before the movie started, it seemed like a douche ex machina more than a clever decision on the filmmaker’s part.
The acting all around is superb. At various times all five of the main characters go from being relatable to entitled, overly arty divas. But at no point does it come off like they’re just adapting to whatever the scene calls for, motivation be damned. The cast does an excellent job of creating three-dimensional characters who are equal parts loving, selfish, pretentious and giving- just like real people I’ve heard about! If this film came out today, Margo wouldn’t have a softer side the audience could latch onto, or Carol would just go along with whoever she’s talking to at the moment out of laziness (there would also be way more boobs, and at least 1 death).
As with any piece of art that often focuses on art, All About Eve is filled with pretentious theater types being pretentious about theater. This could from a couple of things- either the screenwriter was a pretentious twat, or was sure that theater people were pretentious twats who constantly use theatrical quotes and references, and relate real life to the stage. It’s hard to talk about anything creative for too long without sounding like an ungrounded douche bag. There doesn’t need to be a definite opinion on why they’re pretentious, it serves the story no matter the behind the scenes intent. It’s clear why this movie is so highly lauded, and with the amount of obsession-based movies that still come out today, Hollywood could learn a thing or two by rewatching this well-deserved Classic.-MG