Gail (Ann Blyth) is a pretty young girl who will soon be turning 18. She lives in a nice house with both of her suburban-perfect parents and two younger sisters.
Things aren’t completely rosy in the home, though. Gail’s younger sister Joan (Joan Evans) has a bit of a crush of Gail’s boyfriend Chuck (Farley Granger), and there is a rivalry going on between the two sisters.
When they get into a heated argument one day, Joan lets it slip that she has discovered that Gail was adopted. Gail is devastated and sets out on a search not only for her biological parents, but to find her sense of identity.
David Miller directs 1950’s Our Very Own. Appearing alongside Ann Blyth, Farley Granger and Joan Evans are Jane Wyatt, Ann Dvorak, Donald Cook and even a baby-faced Natalie Wood as the family’s youngest child.
Our Very Own begins as a simple family film. A young girl (Natalie Wood) is elated that a TV is being installed in her family’s home. The whole family wants to watch it be installed… and this is the family’s largest dilemma in the earliest portion of the film.
The frivolous subplot of television installation takes a little too long, and we don’t get to the big turning point of the Gail-Joan argument until over 30 minutes into the film. However, this slower opening does serve the purpose of introducing the audience to the family and their dynamics.
Ann Blyth was a very good choice for the central role of the film. She plays sweet very well and it’s easy for the audience to sympathize with her. Even when she’s mean to Joan, it’s easy to understand and be sympathetic to why she’d be annoyed with her bratty little sister.
In a way, Blyth’s talents are under-utilized. The film doesn’t delve too deeply into the intense emotions one would feel in Gail’s situation. It’s an engrossing story nonetheless, and we do see a lot of emotion from Ann Blyth in the role. However, her internal reaction could have been explored more deeply, as could the toil that the family as a whole experiences as a result of Gail learning her parents’ secret.
The plot’s potential for thought-provoking drama is also somewhat downplayed by a bit too much sugary sweetness. Gail’s change of heart and the film’s end come very suddenly, and there’s plenty of cuteness between Ann Blyth and Farley Granger for romantically inclined members of the audience to fawn over. None of this ruins the film — it’s still an engrossing and entertaining watch — but it could have handled the subject matter in a more in-depth, serious way.
Our Very Own isn’t a stellar drama, but it’s a good little movie. The magnetism of its two leads, Blyth and Granger, certainly adds to its appeal. The score: 3/5