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The Weight of Water (2000)

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A newspaper photographer researches an 1873 double homicide and finds her own life paralleling that of a witness who survived the tragic ordeal.


Kathryn Bigelow


Anita Shreve (novel), Alice Arlen (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ciarán Hinds ... Louis Wagner (as Ciaran Hinds)
Richard Donat ... Mr. Plaisted
Sarah Polley ... Maren Hontvedt
Ulrich Thomsen ... John Hontvedt
Anders W. Berthelsen Anders W. Berthelsen ... Evan Christenson
Murdoch MacDonald Murdoch MacDonald ... Bailiff (as Murdock McDonald)
Joseph Rutten Joseph Rutten ... Judge
John Walf John Walf ... Defense Attorney
Katrin Cartlidge ... Karen Christenson
Vinessa Shaw ... Anethe Christenson
Adam Curry Adam Curry ... Emil Ingerbretson
Catherine McCormack ... Jean Janes
Sean Penn ... Thomas Janes
Josh Lucas ... Rich Janes
Elizabeth Hurley ... Adaline Gunne


A newspaper photographer, Jean, researches the lurid and sensational axe murder of two women in 1873 as an editorial tie-in with a brutal modern double murder. She discovers a cache of papers that appear to give an account of the murders by an eyewitness. The plot weaves between the narrative of the eyewitness and Jean's private struggle with jealousies and suspicions as her marriage teeters. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hell hath no fury...

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | Canada | France



Release Date:

31 July 2002 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

El peso del agua See more »


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,888, 3 November 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$102,622, 17 November 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Based on an actual double-murder on the Isles of Shoals on 6 March 1873. See more »


When Adeline dives into the water, she is diving away from Jean and towards the sun. Yet when the shot is on Jean, watching Adeline, the sun is behind Jean. In the next shot, the sun is clearly on Jeans left shoulder and as Thomas wakes and comes on deck and speaks to her, the sun is now on Jeans right shoulder. See more »


Thomas Janes: Talent excuses cruelty. Don't you know that?
Rich Janes: Not talent. Genius maybe. You're talented, Thomas. The world is full of talented assholes.
See more »


References Knife in the Water (1962) See more »


Sulli lulli lite ban
Written by Inge Krokann
Performed by Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

By the numbers drama
14 June 2003 | by rosscinemaSee all my reviews

I like Kathryn Bigelow as a director and she can direct any type of film no matter how technically challenging but their was something really lacking in this film. I'm not sure what it is but my guess is its imagination. Their is nothing special about this story. The film is about two stories. One a true story about two women that were murdered at the Isles of Shoal in New Hampshire in 1873. The other takes place in contemporary times and its about a writer named Thomas Janes (Sean Penn) and his photographer wife Jean (Catherine McCormack) who are going to spend time on a chartered yacht with his brother Rich (Josh Lucas) and his sexy girlfriend Adaline (Elizabeth Hurley). While on the yacht they visit the the actual murder area and Jean starts to read actual letters and transcripts about the case and thinks that the man Wagner (Ciaran Hinds) who was hanged for the murder is actually innocent. The film goes back and forth telling both stories and the first has a woman named Maren (Sarah Polley) who is married but doesn't love her husband. One day her brother comes to visit with his new wife and this makes Maren upset. She is in love with her own brother and they share an incestuous past! The second story has Thomas jealous of his brother and jealous of his wife but still can't help but to stare and flirt with Adaline. The editing in the film tries to intercut both stories but the rhythm and flow seem uneven. The film tries very hard to make us think that both of these stories have a connection between them. But except for the obvious that its about trying to make amends for the past, their really is no hardcore evidence that they are connected. The film looks good, both of them! Bigelow knows how her films should look and she should be commended. Both stories have a very different look and feel and obviously a lot of time was spent on each story. The performances are pretty good especially Polley as Maren. She gives the type of performance that should send out a signal to all studios that she's a solid actress and should be considered for larger roles. Penn also is good as the writer with problems from his past and McCormack is exceptional. She really carries the film and her jealousy and boredom are very evident and understandable for her character. Some have said that Hurley is nothing more than eye candy for the film but I disagree. The film needed an actress that could make us believe that Penn's character would be tempted to stray from his wife and Hurley is so exceptionally beautiful. As she lies in her skimpy bikini or parades topless its hard to not believe that any male wouldn't flirt, even a little bit! But the film lacks any real passion or imagination. The storm at the end of the film seems so forced like its there as just an excuse to set up certain events. It just didn't ring true. When the filmmakers decided they were going to go ahead with this picture, what did they think the point of the film was? It seems both murky and a little contrived. Some real talented individuals were involved in this film but the core of the story seems very hollow.

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