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Wonderful for the right audience
howardeisman27 March 2012
i saw this with twenty something people. This was not a movie for them, but it is a most superior film for older people who have seen people live torturous lives. Why people do things that hurt themselves is a intriguing question which fascinates psychologists and artists alike. No one has come up with a satisfactory answer, not even a plausible one, and Freud leads the list of the clueless. Thus, Hester (played by a wonderful Rachel Weisz) can fascinate those of us who care about the inner working and emotional vicissitudes of a self destructive woman and who will learn about the human condition by considering her behavior. Simon Beale and Tom Hiddleston, the men in her life, are equally impressive performers playing equally limited (Beale) and troubled (Hiddleston) persons.

First, I think most people don't know where the title comes from. A song popular during the second world war (a recent event in this film), has the line "we're caught between perdition and the deep blue sea." This is an apt description of the three protagonists.

This film might be quite tedious for those in a hurry to move on with their lives. The three main characters are stuck and seem to have no capacity for getting unstuck. This is tough to contemplate if you can't wait for your tomorrow's great triumph, or if you see romance as a smooth road to your personal paradise.

The rest of us are mesmerized as these troubled lives unfold on screen. Yes, the mood and physical atmosphere are almost relentlessly dark (it needn't have been); The film is completely without humor, and it is much too slow moving. These are minor difficulties. The script and performances are magnificent.
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A lovely, unique, masterful film
Anscombe1 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The credits are rolling; a clock is ticking; a woman's voice is heard, upper-middle class, declaring that, this time, she really is going to die. And so the music begins—the second movement of Samuel Barber's richly romantic violin concerto. The camera pans left and tracks backwards from a dark, difficult-to-make-out street scene. Then, slowly, magically, it begins to glide up, up, up the façade of an utterly typical London terrace house, as the music continues to swell. Finally, as the music reaches its first crescendo, and the camera comes to a halt, we see the haunted face of Rachel Weisz at the top window. And then we dissolve into the past: a man (Simon Russell Beale—Lord William Collyer), and a woman (Rachel Weisz—Hester, his wife) sit opposite each other, in silence. He smiles, gently; she returns his smile. The music is uncertain, fragile. The violins are poised as if in anticipation. Her eyes are starting to fill. And then the haunting melody begins—and just as it begins the tears start to fall down her face. If there has been a more perfect union of music and image in the history of cinema, I have never seen it. The simplicity and beauty of the moment is quite breathtaking.

We see further scenes, culminating in a quite remarkably tender and intimate love scene (which features the really quite glorious spectacle of a liberated and libidinous Hester licking Freddie's back). The camera circles; the effect is at once romantic and vaguely sickening. The music draws to a close. Hester is on the floor—is she dead? Voices are heard, distorted, almost ghost-like. And then—SLAP! Hester is violently jolted back to the reality she now has to face.

So ends the overture to Terence Davies's latest film, an adaptation of Terrence Rattigan's play "The Deep Blue Sea". It is a glorious, singular opening, which matches practically nothing in cinema, and certainly nothing in Rattigan. His play takes place in one room on one day. Davies shatters these classical unities into shards of memory, which the viewer must piece together into new wholes—just as Hester must go in search of her lost time, to gain some sort of control over her own troubled consciousness. How did she get here? Why did she try to commit suicide? *Did* she try to commit suicide? Is it because her lover no longer loves her? Is her primary motivation love, or shame, or something else? A series of flashbacks provide us with clues, but of course no answers. Davies is not only a master at relating music and image—his opening overture is perhaps the best opening to a film I've ever seen. He is also wonderfully alive to the deep indeterminacy of human motive, a theme which he left relatively unexplored in his early autobiographical memory pieces, but which seems increasingly to be the red thread uniting his later adaptations. Of course, we are not simply a mystery to ourselves. But aspects of our mental lives will remain forever dark to us. And, because we are inside Hester's consciousness throughout, we see that, although her behaviour is hardly inexplicable, aspects of her mental life will remain forever dark to her as well.

We *see*—centrally, we see how Hester feels; but we do not always feel how Hester feels. At the end of the film's brilliantly acted closing scene, she is heartbroken. We can see this; but what I felt is a kind of relief, at Hester's becoming freed from an impossible, stifling situation. I think this is deliberate. Barber's music is gushingly romantic, and it could easily be used, by a lesser director, to create cheap emotional effects. But this is not how Davies uses it. It is the music of her love affair with Freddie. And the film is not—in its "real time" sequences—about her love affair with Freddie. It's about the end of the affair. That is why we hear the music during the overture—which is about her affair—but hardly at all during the rest of the film. The romance in the music is a kind of lie. That is what Hester must come to terms with. The snatches of music we hear later are the final flickering of a dying ember, reminding Hester of what she (and we) must move beyond. Barber's romanticism gives way to something more prosaic, less elevated, and more world-weary: Eddie Fisher singing "Any Time".

This is a film of real riches. The shot composition alone makes it something to treasure. It's also a vast improvement on Rattigan's somewhat unfocused play, which Davies adapts, not as Rattigan himself did in the earlier film version, by trying to "open it out" (by including scenes of Freddie and Hester on a skiing holiday—rather as 1970s British sitcoms were "opened out" for their film versions by sending the cast away on holiday), but by homing in on its central relationships, and breaking it up in the way I have described. I am not sure it is a flawless film. Collyer's mother (Barbara Jefford) seems to be too much of a caricature to perform the function which Davies seems to intend for her—to represent one manifestation of the repressive social values which Hester is up against. But this remains a film of deep intelligence and real grace—qualities which its central performances also possess. And here special mention must be made of Rachel Weisz, who gives a really wonderful, sympathetic, and utterly authentic performance. Authenticity permeates the film as a whole. This is not a smirking, ironic vision of the 1950s, intended primarily to comfort us on how far we've come; it *is* the 1950s, as Davies remembers it, with all its starchiness and stiffness—and that is likely to be somewhat challenging and somewhat alienating for the modern viewer. But audiences who are prepared to meet that challenge will be richly rewarded by this lovely, unique, masterful film.
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A dark film kept alive by Rachel Weisz's sublime acting
groenewaldjas12 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The main flaw with this film is the score. The entire score seems wholly misplaced against the backdrop of the story. The entire collection of violins drown the dialogue and plot in trills and crescendos, without any consequence, and leaves a bitter taste, from the start, and little hope that something impressive is going to unfold.

Having said that, Rachel Weisz as Hester Collyer was sublime. Her portray was forceful, promising and deeply crafted. Her rough emotional distance and tentative passion lends a more natural edge to an other gloomy film. It is tragic when a film, with as much potential as this one, relies so heavily on one of two characters to keep it afloat. The rest of the cast, do not deserve any special mention. They are merely stilted orbs, lacking any remarkable features, revolving around the maelstrom that is Hester Collyer.

The cinematography also deserved a special note. Intimate shots swathed in 1950's British charm holds this film in a state of timelessness. The cinematography also mixes well with Rachel Weisz's role - her melancholia so closely studied by Terence Davies, that rushes in and ebbs as quickly, is deepened and darkened by the lifeless rooms and hopeless situations she finds herself in.

Overall this is a movie that one needs to see for oneself; in order to formulate your own opinion about it, independently and isolation.
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The End of the Affair
Rave-Reviewer16 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A story we have seen many times before - woman destroyed by love - but one with which the director of The House of Mirth both has a particular affinity and invests with that dreamlike, almost somnambulist, melancholy and clear-eyed, even-handed candour in his representations of the key players: desperate romantic wife, wronged but dignified husband, selfish but droll lover, stern yet empathetic landlady. As a result the familiar turns of the narrative matter less than the exquisitely observed pathos of their enaction. Davies messes with chronology, too, so that we begin at story's end and are never sure how close together the two suicide attempts come. The final shot is a chilling pan onto a burnt-out shell of a house, at once proleptic and symbolic of the protagonist's utter desolation, like something from a David Lynch movie.
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98 minutes I will never get back.
bodinehist14 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I entered this film with high expectations and was sorely disappointed, and for someone who usually enjoys period films with strong character development, that's saying something. Everything I needed to know about the character(s) was revealed in the slow spiraling first ten minutes of the movie during which I was already looking at my watch and waiting for the pace of the film to pick up. It never did.

Here is the story: bored, well-to-do housewife, has left boring, and sadly loyal husband with a difficult mother for shallow, self-consumed air force pilot only to find that the relationship doesn't work. We don't know exactly why. He is certainly damaged by the war and hates his current mundane life, and it's hinted that he's not smart enough for her, though for some inconceivable reason she can't seem to break her infatuation with him. She hates her life and herself, so rather than spending it sitting in a dark flat staring at the walls and hoping for lung cancer to set in, she decides to kill herself. This is where the audience comes into the film.

Unfortunately for the us, she fails, so we are forced to endure watching the remaining 90 minutes of the film in small, yet amazingly interminable snippets of her life, any of which, if developed at all, had the potential to be interesting. By the last 20 minutes, it was a toss up which of us, her or me, would survive to see the light of day.
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A beautiful, hopelessly romantic tale..
plaid1084 August 2012
Masterfully told, with fantastic acting from Rachel Weisz, the film tells the story of Hester and ill-fated love affair with Freddie Page. The characters were well developed, especially Hester. Her performance told perfectly of the crushing depression and desperation her character was supposed to be feeling. Tom Hiddleston, probably one of the nicest people ever, wonderfully portrays the bitter, jaded air force captain. It is difficult to watch this film without feeling sorry for, or falling in love with at least one of the characters. They have really been brought to life. For a movie that just came out last year, "The Deep Blue Sea" has the feel and tone of a much older movie. If you can deal with the slow pace, it is a must see.
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The Beauty of Weisz
EJ Verh6 November 2012
Yes, the film is depressing. Yes, it is very long (or it feels rather longer than it is). But, it is good. After viewing it, I couldn't get it out of my mind. It's utterly haunting. There are many things that were less than great in this film. But I've narrowed it down to 1: The Pacing. If this one flaw were corrected, it would have made an excellent film. But, rather than focusing on the negative, I will write about the positive aspects of this particular movie. First, the cinematography is excellent. Those ultra-saturated colors serve the film and the period which it represents very well. I've covered the editing (in the negative) but I will say that there were some surprisingly beautiful camera movements in the piece, that were noticeable, yet served the mood of the story very well. However, if you ever see this film, I would recommend it for the wonderfully subtle performance of Rachel Weisz, who has grown into one of the best actors of her generation. Everything you need to know about the way her character is feeling is not always in the dialogue, but on her mesmerizing face. Weisz makes you not necessarily relate (it is, almost always un-relatable, because of the period and the character that she is playing), but she does make you care. There is no question that this is not a film for everyone. It is slow, it is internal, but it is also worth giving it a try. I moaned and complained all the way through, but in the end, I was unable to stop thinking about it. And, that alone is a testament to its power. It slowly gets under your skin, and you won't even notice it!
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Weisz is phenomenal! Singlehandedly the best female acting performance in the last few years.
demystifield26 March 2012
Overindulgent and somewhat stuffy romantic drama that is saved single handedly by the Oscar caliber performance of Rachel Weisz, who gives a very complex and realistic look at a women whose self destructing over her choices in life in post war Britain in the 1950's. Weisz so good that she brings a lot of life into a somewhat lifeless screenplay that is more into atmosphere than substance. Both of her leading men are fine and lent great support to the vibrant Weisz, who is keeping this film afloat almost by herself while the movie gets a bit claustrophobic towards its climax. The film does have some great moments ( The pub scene and the intimate moment between Weisz and leading man Tom Hiddleston while dancing) but that's more the credit to Weisz and the cast than the film itself. Rachel Weisz has always been one of the most gifted and versatile actresses working today, not being afraid to do different characters and being unlikeable and raw in the process. In this film, she gives in my opinion the best female acting performance in the last few years, giving a complex and rich performance with a character that could have easily been botch by even a great actress, especially with a screenplay that is more into itself than the audience watching the movie. Weisz proves in this movie that she's more than a great actress, she proves that she is one of the best actresses we ever had.

Her phenomenal performance alone is the real reason to see this movie.
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So heavy it almost gets crushed under its own weight
Ruben Mooijman30 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It is tempting to describe The Deep Blue See as one of those examples of typical British understated cinema and superb acting. In a way, it is. But it just doesn't work out very well in this particular film.

It's about a woman with a husband she doesn't love and a lover who doesn't care about her. The husband finds out about the lover, and the lover finds out about her dramatic suicide attempt the film starts with. As if all this isn't tragic enough, the film is set in postwar England, a narrow-minded society of almost claustrophobic proportions.

The result is a film so heavy it almost gets crushed under its own weight. Long shots, silence-filled conversations, tormented looks, outbursts of anger. The first minutes are filled with seemingly unconnected images of the woman in various situations, accompanied by dramatic classical music. Not really a nice appetizer for what's to follow. I had trouble keeping my eyes open during the many scenes in which nothing really happens. One wants to shout out: 'Come on, let's get on with it!'.

It's a pity really, because it's clear this film is made with the best of intentions. It's meant to be a counterweight to the commercial junk from Hollywood. It's about vulnerable people with real emotions, as opposed to cardboard characters shooting and killing each other. But in its efforts to be serious, intellectual, and high-brow, it has almost become a parody of itself.
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A fantastic film
Kelsi Jones12 March 2012
I have seen this film more than once, and the first time I saw it, I was extremely pleased. The movie contains so many emotions. The acting was absolutely brilliant. Tom Hiddleston is such an under-rated actor. He's phenomenal, and I hope to see him a lot in the future. Rachel Weisz performance was beautiful. The emotions she portrayed were extremely realistic.

The music throughout the film was actually quite intelligent. It captured you, and let out emotions as it played during the scenes. I enjoyed every piece of music that was used in this film, especially when they're singing in the bars.

The chemistry Tom and Rachel had was brilliant. They seemed so comfortable with each other, and that just lead the film, and it made it so believable.

I have given this film 10 out of 10 for obvious reasons. I highly recommend this film if you enjoy movies with an excellent storyline, and amazing acting, excellent crew and directing.
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The House of Mirth Part 2
Sherazade6 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It has been a while since I last saw a decent period piece so for that, I give this film due kudos. In the age of over-the-top special effects and studio favoured blockbusters a well made drama is hard to come by.

Hester (played by the ever astonishingly talented Rachel Weisz) is married to a stoic and brutally honest judge named William and though it is not entirely clear when their marriage went sour, Hester embarks on a torrid relationship with William's friend Freddie, a military man who has just returned from war. Somewhere along the line, Hester begins to realise that she might have very hopped from the frying pan into the fire by putting her secure marriage to her elderly hubby in jeopardy by having an affair with an incredibly childish man. That dilemma is where the film gets its title 'The Deep Blue Sea' from the saying "Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea".

Things I liked, the dewy camera view, the theatre-like dialogue delivery and stage-like performances by the actors. The land lady was a real scene-stealer. Things I did not like, the slow pace of the film and the polarising script. The first ten minutes of the film told a harrowing story highlighting infidelity without any words just set to music but sadly the rest of the film is spent trying to reflect on the brilliance of those first ten minutes.

The Oscar curse has not affected Weisz one bit, she has been a revelation with each new film she has done since winning an Academy Award for her role in 'The Constant Gardener' an equally brilliant film.
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Deep Blue depression
Jacqx Melilli16 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film may appeal to those who are familiar with the era and would appreciate the imagery, soundtrack, and emotional layers depicted in the film. Others will find it quite dull and depressing. Rachel Weisz plays Lady Hester whose soul can be felt screaming under her forced composure. Married to Sir William Collyer, a British judge played by Simon Russell Beale, she appears to find her life, based on etiquette and social acceptance unbearable. Deciding that it is better to live a life of passion, than one of controlled feelings and monotony that weigh her soul daily, she proceeds to have an affair with an ex-Royal Air Force pilot by the name of Freddie played by Tom Hiddleston. The contrast between her composed husband and Freddie who appears infantile, irresponsible and completely selfish is extreme. There is no explanation for why she is childless, although William asks her whether it would have made any difference to her lack of happiness had they had a child. There are many unanswered questions, the most intriguing one being; Which is more unbearable – to live a life feeling nothing, or to experience the exhilaration of love, then suffer the depths of pain caused by the lover who steals your dignity? Ironically, Hester's landlady who is caring for her elderly father tells her that real love is changing the soiled underwear of someone who is helpless and still allowing them to keep their dignity. Love is about putting the other person's feelings above your own; something that Hester's lover refuses to do. William, deeply hurt by the affair states that he never wants to see Hester again. However ten months later when he hears about Hester's attempted suicide, immediately comes to her aid showing her that his deep love for her remains.

Having felt nothing for most of her life, Hester's passionate affair becomes so overwhelming that she spends the majority of her time constantly trying to balance her feelings. When she feels nothing it scares her so she acts in irrational ways, running into the subway just as a speeding train blasts past her. Then when she feels too much and cannot cope with the pain, she attempts suicide. She allows herself to be publicly humiliated by her lover, because it feels better than being ignored.

For the viewer, her roller coaster ride plays in slow motion and in some parts becomes mind-numbingly slow. The flashbacks and imagery are confusing; an example being when Hester runs into the subway. The tension is broken by strange dream-like imagery of a crowd of people laying about the subway, which makes little sense.

The film may have been set in the 1950s but there's no excuse for the simulation of cataracts that made the entire film annoyingly blurry. To add to the dullness, it was set in wintery doom and gloom. The streets still in disarray from the Blitz are as lifeless as the characters. Terence Davies lacks creativity when the best he can do is devoid the film of colour, including having everyone dressed in the same drab garb except for Hester who gets to wear the scarlet coat.
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Wonderful drama
Eva S.16 April 2012
The Deep Blue Sea is a dramatic romance which takes place around the post-war (WWII) period where the young wife of a British judge starts having a love affair with a royal air force pilot. The confusion and complexity or their situation puts their love into some strong tests. Mostly for their own self-challenge. Rachel Weisz is mature and amazing as a leading actress, and then comes Tom Hiddleston who unveils a beautiful supporting performance and freshens up a little bit the foggy mood of the film.

Terence meets Terence and a wonderful theatrical film comes to life. T. Davies wrote the screenplay and also directed the movie based on a love story play by T. Rattigan. The cinematography is absolutely theatrical. Feels like a never-ending stage. Therefore, expect some -not very long- slow scenes accompanied with instrumental classic music. The story leads you to expect and understand the outcome as it is.

If you want to see a good drama, this romantic one may be it.
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A wonderful and heartbreaking film: Rachel Weisz proves once again to be the best actress of her generation.
gummydy24 March 2012
Deep and heartbreaking look at a woman's fight for inner freedom is a real treat to see. Rachel Weisz and Terrence Davis create a dark fable about desire and expectations with Weisz once again proving to be the best actress of her generation with a tour de force performance that will dazzle and stay with you after the film is over. Tom Hiddleston is great as her object of desire and Simon Russell Beale is great as her husband. It's a bit stagy in some area but once you get passed it it's carries you in its current. Giving you an understanding of a time and place where desire and lust was forbidden.

A true classic in the making:)
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The movie is just oh so serious but I didn't feel any emotions for any of the characters!
Hellmant5 February 2013
'THE DEEP BLUE SEA': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Rachel Weisz has received much critical praise and award recognition (including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress) for her starring turn in this melodramatic romance based on the 1950's play, of the same name, by Terence Rattigan. In the film she plays the wife of a much older judge who begins an affair with a much younger former Royal Air Force pilot. It co-stars Tom Hiddleston (best known as Loki of 'AVENGERS' and 'THOR' fame) and Simon Russell Beale. It was directed and written for the screen by Terence Davies. Weisz's performance might be pretty good but the movie as a whole is just way too melodramatic and boring!

Weisz plays Hester Collyer, the wife of High Court judge Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale) in 1950 London. Hester is bored with her life married to William, who is almost ten years older than her. Then she meets former RAF pilot Freddie Page, who's haunted by memories of his service in World War II. Hester and Freddie are drawn to each other and Hester is excited by the passion she feels for the much younger man (over a decade younger). Her new romantic adventure causes a lot of trouble for everyone involved though and results in a suicide attempt.

The movie is just oh so serious but I didn't feel any emotions for any of the characters. It's extremely tragic and dry and unbearable at times. Movies like this are just impossible for me to get into. I like emotional drama and will cry at a good tearjerker but I have to be given a good reason to care about the characters. Weisz might be really good in the film (as are the other actors) but I had a hard time acknowledging it as I could care less about her character. I'm sure there's an audience that will like and appreciate this film (like a lot of the critics) but it's not me.

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Terence Rattigan's Time Has Come
Fred23 March 2012
Brilliant, is what I say. Terence Rattigan's 1950 play was filmed once before (and while I have not seen it, I can't think it would be more effective than the new version) but the current film puts the lie to our weird nostalgia for the "Keep Calm and Carry On" era. This movie is cool, efficient and heartbreaking. And it is directed with an eye on Rattigan's increasing stature. When one character goes on a John Osbourne style rant, we are not meant to fall for this particular Angry Young Man. Of course, Rattigan wrote it just before the Angry Young Man began storming the British stage. It shows he was gearing up for the onslaught. Rattigan is often mistaken for a conventional dramatist, but his explosions are deeper than Osbourne's, perhaps because he himself (Rattigan) doesn't cultivate anger. He knew how and when to use it.
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Bride Over Troubled Waters
jadepietro13 April 2012
This film is recommended.

Based on Terence Rattigan's 1952 play, The Deep Blue Sea is stylish soap opera at its best, and an overly ripe melodramatic downer at its worst. The film is reminiscent of the type of films that were popular fare in the fifties. ( And please, don't confuse it with the similarly titled shark attack movie some years back. ) No blood is spilled in this movie adaptation, but many lives are destroyed as loss and suffering does take its toll.

It is post-war Britain. Ruins are everywhere, from the bombed-out buildings to the people who inhabit them. There is a drabness in their hopeless lives, their colorless clothes, and their everyday routines. One such person is Hester Collyer, an unhappy romantic soul, trapped in a comfortable but loveless marriage to Sir William, a wealthy judge. Of course this means only one thing: suicide or an affair is in the offing. Fortunately ( or unfortunately, as the case may be ) after she meets a dashing but lonely RAF pilot named Freddie, there is a temporary respite from her real world. Lust, sin, and passion become the missing strands to her unraveling world ( which is not too surprising when one sees Hester's blatant scarlet red coat that overtly signals a Prynne moment is upon us. No subtlety lost here. Code Red, or is that Coat Read? )

This period melodrama is terribly British with a capital B. All proper diction, words unsaid, and formal reserve. Everyone is so noble and refined. Writer / director Terence Davies evokes the right atmospheric mood as we become lost in Hester's memories. He has a fine visual eye for those bittersweet times and Davies sensitively recalls the aftermath of WWII most efficiently with his use of popular and classical music and strong imagery, especially the impressive Underground bomb shelter scene. After an overly slow beginning, the director paces his film quite well using sounds, silences, and pauses in the characters' reactions to their conversations most effectively in telling his tale of a love undone.

The film sporadically uses these moments to tell the story of the makings of a passionate love affair, but its fragmented structure never allows us to understand Hester's attraction and her rationale to her self-proclaimed changes in her life. She's portrayed as a sympathetic victim, yet this character chooses the very unhappy lifestyle that she now wallows in, and we moviegoers are unable to see the results of her actions. It's as if some parts to her past are missing and sketchy, especially the happier times.

As the damaged Hester, Rachel Weisz is quite smashing. This talented actress fills her slightly underdeveloped role with such clarity and depth. ( Her scene in the pub as she stares into her lover's eyes while becoming uninvolved with the rowdy goings-on during the sing- along of a Jo Stafford tune says more than mere words could have expressed. ) It is a powerful nuanced performance. Completing the love triangle is Simon Russell Beale as her concerned husband and Tom Hiddleston as her cad of a lover. Both actors create indelible contrasting personalities, although the character of Freddie comes off the worst of the pair. Solid support from Ann Mitchell as Hester's landlady and Barbara Jefford is Hester's judgmental mother-in-law round out this wonderful ensemble.

The Deep Blue Sea is a successful throwback to the the great David Lean film, Brief Encounter. Only this time, the encounter is not brief and fleeting, just fleeting. It takes the moviegoer back to a former time, unlike today, when movies had a heart and mind, and dare I say, soul. GRADE: B

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If It Ain't Broke ...
writers_reign25 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Terence Davies is the darling of the BFI where the pseuds who run the place orgasm and genuflect in that order each time his name is mentioned and even as I write are probably planning deification any time soon. The problem with this is that now Davies thinks he is a better writer than Terence Rattigan whereas he isn't fit to change Rattigan's typewriter ribbon. If there was one thing Rattigan could do in his sleep it was CONSTRUCT a play, apparently Davies thinks he can construct a film. In your dreams, mate. With gorgeous conceit Davies is on record as saying that Rattigan didn't devote sufficient time to Hester in Act I of his play so Davies has put that right by dreaming up a lengthy sequence involving Hester's marriage to William Collier and introducing an entire scene involving Collier's mother, and other scenes showing Hester and Freddy Paige getting together. Stuff that Rattigan was able to do more than adequately via a combination of stagecraft and dialogue. He has also seen fit to eliminate the young married couple who find Hester in the play and far from the gas meter running out he has her feed it with several coins before attempting suicide. This is all accompanied by loud, agonisingly tortuous music reminiscent of one of Wagner's worst excesses and if that weren't enough he throws in several pop songs of the time - You Belong To Me, Autumn Leaves and, in another totally extraneous scene set in a tube station during the blitz, Molly Malone. His amateurishness shows up in a pub scene in which the patrons are singing at the tops of their voices, Freddy and Hester step outside, meters from the pub and suddenly it's silent as the grave. It's one thing to tamper with a work that no one alive remembers seeing on its first production - Oscar Wilde say, but The Deep Blue Sea is revived as often as Private Lives both on stage and television and there can't be anyone with an interest in theatre who has not seen it in one production or another - all presented as Rattigan wrote it - within say, the lest six or seven years so there is no excuse, other than massive ego, for this travesty. Throw in the fact that the actor playing Freddie lacks even a smidgin of the breeziness that Kenneth More brought to the role and much more anger. David Mamet, a far superior writer than Davies, is also an admirer of Rattigan and he chose to direct a film adaptation of Rattigan's The Winslow Boy a few years ago, direct it, yes, not rewrite it. Someone at the BFI should remind Davies that the only thing he has in common with Rattigan is a Christian name and homosexuality.
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joffday15 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sorry to pop the balloon of all the reviewers who thought this film was great. It was poor. Rachel Weisz (whom I normally like) was wooden and hammy - which was probably a reflection on the director rather than the actor. Converting a play to a film is tough. Carnage just about managed it - but this does not. The audience really never gets to understand the reasons for the affair or why Hester did not return to her husband. There is no 'electricity' in the relationship between her and Freddie.

The story was - well - not a story really. I was bored after the first 10 minutes and only kept watching as I thought it must get better. It didn't.

I was thoroughly disappointed.
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Starts brilliantly but becomes boring. A shame.
craig-hopton6 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie starts brilliantly. Director Terence Davies creates a scene centred around a suicide attempt that is quite beautiful and frightening. It really gets the movie going and gets you interested in the story.

Rachael Weisz puts in an accomplished performance as the female protagonist at the centre of a love triangle. She is exceptional throughout and well supported by Simon Russell Beale and Tom Hiddleston.

So why didn't I like this movie more? Well, I think the answer lies in the fact that this movie is based on a play, and it shows. The scenes are long, heavy on dialogue, and not much is done with the screenplay to add something extra.

I think this would be wonderful to see in a crowded theatre where the dramatic tension could build up with the audience in close proximity to the actors. But on a small screen, it just doesn't work as well. Eventually, it becomes boring. And the oddest thing about it is why, after the fantastic opening, Davies doesn't make more use of cinematic techniques to turn this into a "movie." He obviously had the ability, so why didn't he use it? A shame.
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gdg231 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
... and not only dull but really poorly acted. I haven't seen the play, and perhaps that might have added something to the experience, but if you're adapting a play for the big screen surely you can't rely on all of your audience having seen it.

And I find it hard to imagine that seeing the stage version would have really added anything to the film, except perhaps another layer of disappointment.

Why are we constantly bombarded with films about repressed Britain? Long silences, drifting camera pans, dreary music, dreary act-by-numbers performances. The key seems to be to find a depressing subject (normally failed romance/deprived ex-mining towns/alcoholism/drug addiction/AIDS (or, even better, all of the above)), make it more depressing by shoe-horning 'the war' in there somehow and off you go, have a few million quid and indulge yourself. The BFI need to wake up and show some innovation and bravery, we *must have* so much more talent to display than this.

So that was a general rant - a brief bit about this particular offering (I wont bother with the plot, other reviews cover that). Rachel Weiss and, well, pretty much the entire cast, are stilted and wooden beyond just 'acting' stilted and wooden. I'll grant you that the film is (at least partly) about repression of emotions but the performances are so devoid of life and energy as to make the viewer devoid of any emotional attachment to any of the characters. So when (after what seems like days of miserable 'not much going on') Ms Weiss is contemplating leaping in front of the Picadilly Line eastbound I found myself hoping someone would give her a shove and get it all over with. Unfortunately Aldwych station has been closed since 1994.

There are so few positives I find it hard to lighten up this review. It doesn't even seem to really have the courage of it's convictions, there's no feeling of 'well, I didn't get it but I can see that the cast and crew did', it just feels like a real waste of everyone's time (and unfortunately a waste of the ticket, kindly brought for me by a friend). I quite liked the chap who played her husband, I don't know why really, I think he was the only character who even came close to being humanm and you know, he just had one of those 'nice' faces! How we're supposed to believe that she ever married him is beyond me, but I guess that must be in the play so that's not the film's fault.

To be charitable it feels like a project that had good intentions but that somehow just didn't work. You can't really fault the actors when they have so little to work with, and the director must have been obsessing about the 'treatment' of the original play, rather than making something that was actually watchable.
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A story of its time - but not ours!
flickernatic28 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I approached this movie with high hopes and with no previous knowledge of any of those involved. But I left the theatre disappointed.

To me it's usually a bad sign when the story opens with what appears to be a grim ending. As we know the outcome from the start, the author/director is going to have to work pretty hard to get us interested enough in the characters to care about their fates and watch their impending doom for the next 90 minutes. It didn't happen.

Of course, the story is relevant to our time, but it simply isn't all that interesting nor told particularly well. The beautiful young Hester (Rachel Weisz) is bored by her marriage to an old-before-his-time William (Simon Russell Beale). Prone to suicidal impulses, she has an affair with dashing ex-RAF chap, Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). But it all progresses, with much smoking (hate it!) and cellos in a minor key (cliche), to end, all too predictably, in tears. End of story.

The cinematography is pleasant but I couldn't find much else to like. The pace is horribly slow; when someone speaks there is usually a 5-second pause before there is a response. The acting never rises above the average and always looks like acting. There is a complete lack of chemistry, let alone passion, between Hester and her lover, while Beale's character looks as if he has escaped from a Chekhov play. The sets are more 1930s than 1950s, and there are some dreadfully hackneyed portrayals of Londoners, singing their hearts out in the 'local' or huddling silently in the tube station as the Luftwaffe's bombs rain down from above. We even get a hint of Anna Karenina as the tortured Hester looks meaningfully at the beckoning railway lines.

But this is more like Leslie Howard meets Nigella Lawson in Brief Encounter with added sex! The Deep Blue Sea is a million miles from the masterpieces of Coward and Tolstoy. It's almost enough to make you want a cigarette.

(Viewed at Screen 1, The Cornerhouse, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK 26.11.11)
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Depressing to infinity
iam25 November 2012
Had high hopes for a taut intelligent drama - go figure, it features two of my favorite British actors in Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston. Unfortunately, the film fell far short of their talent and my attention. With the excessive and prolonged violin music at the beginning, I knew I had erred in selecting this movie during the Thanksgiving weekend. To its credit, this film did have the look and feel of the 1950's in which it was set. Apart from that, I can't offer up anything else that may have redeemed this torturous series of vignettes of an unhappy woman well-loved by her husband but languishing for a cad who is dying to escape her and all that's dreary in postwar London. Early on, you're probably not dreaming of a happy ending, you're just hoping for an ending -stat! It came alright, just 2 hours too late. Alas, the downbeat performances, self-destructive characters, and deadly slow pace had me plotting to throw this flick into the sea (or the closest puddle outside)..never to be seen again.
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CountZero3138 December 2011
Hester's marriage to staid William stultifies the mind and suffocates her soul. She finds passion with former pilot Freddie, and courts scandal by abandoning her husband and comfortable life to take up with her young lover. We find this out in flashbacks from a day that begins with Hester attempting suicide in the down-at-heel digs she shares with Freddie.

Lush photography and emotive thesping from Rachel Weisz can't save this film from a glaring hole in the narrative - Hester's all-consuming passion for Freddie is impossible to understand. He's a looker, and not an old bore like her husband, but that hardly explains the leap she makes. If it was the sex, then it is all off-screen, as the one time we see them naked together it is a rather tepid moment and passion does not fill the frame. When we first meet Freddie, he is oafish. A bit of a cad, and a boundah - the dialogue seems to have been written almost as a send-up of the archetype. His comic-book wartime slang and prattling on about 'Jerry' are cringeworthy. We quickly fast-forward to the disintegration of the relationship, by which time Freddie has become crass and boorish. And there's the rub - whatever appeal the man had for Hester is lost in that fast forward. The meat of the tale of this affair has been skipped over.

The music is almost hysterical in its attempt to manipulate the audience, and William's mother is brought on as a one-note character to ram home the fact that Hester is suffocating - as if one look at William wouldn't tell us that already.

I came to this film without any knowledge of the Terrence Rattigan play. Judged in its own terms, this film seems to be looking for an audience that has passed. Hester's choice is bizarre, and her despair at the consequences of that choice extreme and unconvincing. A few interminable singalongs in the pub and subway are added, apparently this director's signature.

There is a certain female demographic to whom this film might just appeal, but I doubt there are enough of them to justify the price tag. Perhaps it would be harsh to call this British cinema at its worst, but it is certainly British cinema having a bad day.
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An unsatisfying film about two self absorbed people who have an affair based on neediness and convenience..
Katehbbs22 March 2012
Truly underwhelming film, a dreary story built around two self-absorbed and unlike able characters. The music is trite and excessively loud, with fortissimo swelling violins at every (and I do mean every) self pitying tear. The principal female character Has an affair based on emotional need and lust with an immature and selfish man who she knows does not love her, and who is mourning the excitement of the recent war, and can not commit to a mature relationship. She is desperately needy and manipulative, and attempts suicide when her lover forgets her birthday. Although Rachel Weisz brings an inner desperation to the role, the poor scripting and lack of depth in supporting characters render the film empty. The opportunity to set the story firmly into the mood of loss and hope following the end of the war is lost. A film without any saving grace.
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