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Lydia isn’t for everyone. Told in flashback, it tells the story of the unraveling of the titular character’s relationships with four men who, bizarrely, have decided to surprise her in her old age with a “yeah, me too ” former-lovers reunion.  It’s melodrama piled on top of melodrama.  Rich, thick dark chocolate icing on double chocolate cake drizzled with syrup. Having said that, if you like this sort of thing, you get what you pay for and a little more. Starring Merle Oberon, Joseph Cotten, Alan Marshall, George Reeves, and Edna May Oliver, it’s cast well. Oliver, in particular, gives a great performance as Lydia’s salty old Grandmother who alternates between chastising her for her shocking behavior and simply being desirous for her happiness.  And what’s more, the film explores the idea of how most of our experiences and certainly all of our memories are filtered through our own unreliable lenses. The characters sometimes don’t see things correctly even as they’re happening, much less in recollection. Identity itself is a fiction, the consequence of which is not unimportant as the difference between perception and reality can be a long way down.  It leaves you with more to think about than your average melodrama.

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