A young female landowner in 1840s Jamaica marries a just-arrived Englishman to avoid losing her property. All seems to be perfect, love arises, and happiness is on the way, but she is ... See full summary »
A young female landowner in 1840s Jamaica marries a just-arrived Englishman to avoid losing her property. All seems to be perfect, love arises, and happiness is on the way, but she is hiding an old secret regarding her childhood and her mother. Slowly, this secret begins to erode this perfect relationship and, perhaps, her mother's story will begin again...with her. Written by
Luis Carvacho <email@example.com>
Be prepared for some heat, sexual and otherwise, with "Wide Sargasso Sea." But nothing can prepare you for the pulsing, haunting, hypnotic main-theme of the soundtrack. "Mt. Underwater" is the official title of this piece, composed by Stewart Copeland, which runs while the Sargasso seaweed-fronds writhe in the waves, seen from underwater, right from the opening credits. Only the beginning; so much more follows: an incredible history. There's the ending of slavery and its aftermath on the island. Themes of loyalty, betrayal, madness, and even love, especially love, are interwoven masterfully. The majestic presence of the island of Jamaica remains in the mind's eye long after the end, too. The heart of the tale runs quite close to such films as the triple Oscar-winning "The Piano" (1993) or "Sirens" (1994). And, yes, there are many moments, even sustained ones, where characters are nude. But beautifully so! The spirit of each main character appears nude as well, by the film's end. The lovers, Edward and Antoinette -- what fiery and troubled spirits they are -- or become. Karina Lombard's beauty (as Antoinette) runs all through here, but women will get quite a few opportunities to view Edward (played by Nathaniel Parker). Ultimately, Lombard's ability to show Antoinette's abiding spirit wins out; the strength and truth of her love -- but more than that -- of her life-spirit, her connectedness to the culture she was born into -- these qualities remain unforgettable. Initially, I wanted to describe this film as the most sensuous, most passionate, I'd ever seen. Then I remembered Italian director Lina Wertmuller's "Swept Away" -- one of the greatest films ever; and most films suffer by comparison. But "Wide Sargasso Sea," in Lombard's portrayal of Antoinette, overmatches "Swept Away" for the strength of its lead female character. Without this sort of beauty, the appeal of even the most perfectly-formed naked flesh means nothing. I'm not saying "Wide Sargasso Sea" is the better film. No. Because the richness of actor Giancarlo Giannini's performance in the lead role of "Swept Away" secures its place as an international classic. Both stories originated with women writers: Jean Rhys, in the novel of the same title for "Sargasso" (many years before the film was made). "Swept Away" has the unmatched genius of Wertmuller as both director and writer. I've read Rhys' novel, by the way -- you can't blame the director or the film's scriptwriters for the passion and sensuality portrayed onscreen in "Wide Sargasso Sea." It amazed me how closely the screenplay matched the original text in terms of the dialog. Yes, the passion and nudity aren't so explicitly described in the novel -- but that doesn't mean they aren't felt and imagined all the more powerfully by the reader. It's a yin/yang thing. Women may prefer the sensuality of words to images, as a rule; men generally respond most immediately to images. Make a novel into a film and -- voila, the visual will come to the fore, in fact, must do so.
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