Film Analysis Essay of The Diamond Necklace (1921)

Film Analysis Essay of The Diamond Necklace (1921)

The Diamond Necklace is a silent film written by Guy de Maupassant and was released in 1921 (IMDb 1). It is based on the short story The Necklace which was written by the same writer. The movie explores the story of a cashier and his wife who suffers and despairs for ten years because of poverty in an attempt to replace a lost necklace which eventually turned out to be fake. The film involves numerous themes. This includes deceptiveness of appearance, perceived martyrdom and its consequences – both of which play an important role in the development of the plot.

One of the main themes of the movie is how appearance can be deceiving at times. This is exemplified by the character of Mathilde. The reality of this figure’s situation is that she not in fact, a member of a social class nor is she wealthy. Rather, she believes that her beauty as well as her charm makes her worthy of better things. As such, she does everything in her power to make it appear as if it is otherwise. This means that she lives a life that is full of illusion where in her life does not match the ideal life she has in her mind. Her illusionary world is evident in the party where in her thoughts finally matched the reality. Nonetheless, the evening did not end without any problem simply because her class and wealth are all make believe (Maupassant 25).

The theme is similarly highlighted in the necklace of Madame Forestier. The necklace which appears to have been made from precious diamonds is in fact, nothing more but just costume jewelry. However, the idea that it came from Madame Forestier gives the notion that the item is valuable and expensive. In addition to this, Mathilde had created in her head an image that this lady us the epitome of wealth and class. This part only suggests that even the wealthiest have their share of pretentions. In the same way, the fact when the necklace goes unnoticed from worthless to being valuable indicates that the true value of an object ultimately depends on the perception of the person (Fonseka 3).

Another important theme of the movie is martyrdom and its consequences. This theme is evident in the way that Mathilde perceives of herself as a martyr. This in turn leads her to make unwise and selfish choices and actions. Mathilde believes that she is a martyr and thus, she is unable to appreciate almost every aspect of her life including her loving and devoted husband and at the same time, she feels that her beauty are all being thrown to the waste basket. The moment when she loses the necklace, she sacrifices an entire decade of her life in order to pay back the debt she got from buying a replacement. She takes the hard work with sad determination taking into heart that she is a martyr. And this intensifies both her feeling and her actions of her concept of what a martyr looks like. In the end, the manner in which Mathilde perceives herself as a poor, selfless martyr results in her worthless and useless sacrifice. This means that her perception of how she sees herself ultimately dictated her sad reality.

Based on the points provided, it can be argued that the movie The Diamond Necklace uses two important themes which dictated the entire narrative. One of the most important themes is the deceptiveness of appearance which is evident in character of Mathilde. Throughout the movie, she created a different reality in her head. This is also true for the necklace which was just perceived as valuable when in fact, it is fake. Another equally important theme is the character’s perception of being a martyr which in turn, caused the unnecessary suffering of Mathilde.

Works Cited

Fonseka, G. “The Necklace: A Critique of Class-Consciousness”. Academia. Retrieved 4 august 2014, from


De Maupassant, G. The Necklace. NY: Dramatic Publishing, 1969

“The Diamond Necklace”. IMDb. Retrieved 4 August 2014, from