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17 November 2013 @ 03:40 pm
Film Review: The Deep Blue Sea  
No, not the shark movie with Samuel L. Jackson. The film adaptation of Terence Ratigan's play starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, and Simon Russell Beale.


This isn't a movie you can watch on a whim. I tried several months ago and couldn't really withstand the number of disjointed emotions this film provoked in me. So I gave it some time and worked my way up and found it to be incredibly challenging in a good way, which probably means the film did something right.

The main plot takes place in a post-WWII London (around 1950s) and centers on Hester (Weisz) who is married to a much older Sir William Collyer (Beale). Their marriage is a warm but milquetoast one as Collyer hardly inspires passion and is seemingly passionless himself. Eventually, Hester and falls in love with Freddie Page (Hiddleston), a dashing RAF pilot and soon she's leaving her husband and her comfortable means to be Freddie's mistress in basic squalor. The movie opens up with Hester about to commit suicide so you can guess how the affair goes. However, the film is not just about the past but also about what happens after Hester survives her suicide attempt.

The film could have trotted out its usual tired tropes of a woman too passionate for her times and falling for the wrong sort of cad as Freddie reveals himself to be selfish, weak, and callous. However, her awoken ardor prevents her from returning to her much more loving, but dull husband. This all could have been one long eye roll for me except the performances and the script allowed the story to rise above the tropes. What I mostly enjoyed about the film was that I could hate every character for their actions but still feel sympathy for them as just people. It's funny how whenever any of them interacted with one another, I wanted to strangle them. But when they're either alone or having a more solitary moment despite being in a crowd, I could sense their underlying despair and feel some sort of sympathy.

Hester, Freddie, and Collyer are all difficult people to connect with but that's sort of the beautiful point of this story. Everyone is damaged and everyone is grappling to be NOT damaged by wreaking havoc to those around them. It's really their desperation that you only ever truly see when they're either alone or lost in a rant that gets you to feel something for them other than disdain and mortification.


In short, The Deep Blue Sea is not a film to watch if you're in a lighthearted mood. But I recommend it as something to sink your teeth into when you want something emotionally wrenching.
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The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 17th, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC)
I saw this awhile back, and I remember watching it and being left with a feeling of "...the hell was that about?'. Enjoyable to watch and very well acted, but not terribly memorable for me. I am someone who needs at least one character to connect with and like, and I just have a hard time getting enjoyment from it if I don't. I felt like it would be better as a play, which it was originally, because in a theatre, the electricity of two people hashing something out would draw you in, but on screen I felt disconnected. I don't think it was the performances, just the medium. It felt a bit too quiet for a film. Very British, "What is it, Sebastian? I'm arranging matches" type film.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 17th, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
I think I had certain expectations (bad expectations) for this movie so I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't walk away thinking, "Thanks again for writing a story about a woman killed off for being 'passionate,' Male Writer."

But yeah, if you need a character to connect with to watch stuff, this is not that movie. I didn't really connect with anyone but felt like I "got" everyone which was enough for me to feel big feelings.

Edited at 2013-11-17 11:15 pm (UTC)
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 17th, 2013 11:27 pm (UTC)
I didn't quite get Hester, I don't think. I got Freddie, being stuck in the war and missing it and unable to move on, and this idea, especially for the pilots, that death was always moments away and that he become impulsive and moody and broken about it. Him, I got. But I didn't quite get Hester. Is she just supposed to be driven by passion? And a bit selfish when things don't go her way? Maybe it was the time period, and she was not fitting in to it and that's what I was supposed to understand about her. I just felt like I missed her deal a little.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 17th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
I felt like she was somebody who had been trained all her life to be slightly withholding, both to herself and others emotionally. And her experience with Freddie was the first time she was allowed to not do this. But then when people responded to her negatively, she coped by withdrawing and being more passive-aggressive and withholding because her lifelong training kicked in.

Her biggest tragedy to me was nicely summed up by Freddie who said that he loves her but not the way she loves him. And that's about it, really. She is expecting something in return that's not there. I don't know if she's necessarily driven by passion. I think it's more she's driven by a desire not to be deprived.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 17th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see. Okay, yes. I did watch an interview with Tom prior to the watching the movie that might have helped me figure out his character better than hers, because he was talking about him in that enthusiastic way actors talk about their characters. I just felt like Hester's important points were in her backstory, which was rushed at the beginning, and that much of what we saw on the screen was her looking morose and begging, while Freddie had a number of speeches outlining what his deal was. I wondered if some of her stuff was cut in the translation to screen.

Also, it's been a while since I saw it, so I might just be forgetting things.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 17th, 2013 11:57 pm (UTC)
while Freddie had a number of speeches outlining what his deal was.

Freddie's rants did help me to a certain extent also feel some sympathy for Hester ultimately because she banked a lot on someone who just isn't remotely equipped to give her what she wants and needs. And I could appreciate that Freddie very much knows this which further adds to his self-hate that he's traumatized by the danger he saw during the war rather than thrilled by it, despite his best efforts.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 12:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, I see what you're saying, and I don't think it was an unusual situation for WWII soldiers to be in. They all came home broken, and I think a lot of them couldn't really be fixed. And there were all these women who couldn't know what it had been like for the soldiers, while at the same time almost being punished for not knowing.

I remember the last sort of confrontation between Hester and Freddie being really good, but feeling like the lead-in was a bit plodding to watch.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 02:45 am (UTC)
And there were all these women who couldn't know what it had been like for the soldiers, while at the same time almost being punished for not knowing.

Hester seemed sort of caught in the cycle of knowing something was actually wrong with Freddie but not knowing what to do about it other than point it out which didn't help matters. I cringed a whole lot during their scene at the museum.

One, because I always internally wince when people start shouting in public places where you're supposed to be quiet. Like a library. And two, because neither one of them could restrain themselves from saying all the wrong things.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 03:54 am (UTC)
Oh, I was squirming like hell for that scene. Ick. I also find it really weird whenever Hiddleston swears, because he's always such a gentleman in interviews. I sort of expect him to yell and swear, and then look really horrified and apologize.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 04:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was taken aback by the swearing as well. The general nastiness I could oddly accept but the swearing did stun me out of the moment briefly.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 04:59 am (UTC)
Maybe because we've seen Hiddles be moody and stroppy as Martinsson and Loki, but he didn't swear in either of those parts. I think too that swearing is sort of a blokey thing and Hiddleston has always played, and to some extent is, more on the poetic, quietly manly side of things, vs a more butch, testosterone-ladden character, like Thor or Tony Stark. So, maybe cruelty is acceptable but crassness is unexpected? He's a bit of a Disney prince, after all.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:06 am (UTC)
So, maybe cruelty is acceptable but crassness is unexpected?

Yes, that's exactly it. I can take all manner of cruel, awful things from characters Hiddleston plays but he has to do them all with clean language. I won't tolerate bad language. Murder and torture, fine. But no swearing.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 05:10 am (UTC)
Well, as long as we have our priorities straight. *nods*

formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:11 am (UTC)
We've shown excellent judgement in the past. I am confident.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 05:17 am (UTC)
Agreed. I see no way this could go wrong.

formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:18 am (UTC)
I see no way this could go wrong.


I feel like these are our thoughts when you embark on a kid!fic and I embark on a crossover fic.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 05:24 am (UTC)
Yes, and up ahead is a big hole we're about to fall into, and we're skipping along, whistling.

Speaking of kid!fic, this is begging for something to be done with it.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:25 am (UTC)
Huh, the link just took me to a page that said nothing was there.

The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:29 am (UTC)
Right.

So.

I'm not sure what's the cutest thing in that photo. The cuddly bear? The teeny tiny book? 6'3 Hiddleston scrunched into a chair?

I'm guessing he's reading to a bunch of kids but it looks like he's pretending to read to the bear itself. This has to inspire some sort of fic with Alec reading to his class with Molly practically falling over with hearts in her eyes, right?
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 05:35 am (UTC)
Yes! These are my thoughts. I love that the teddy bear is dressed as Thor, too. So cute.

The question is, how to put Molly in a position to see said reading to his class. I'd need a reason for her to be at the school, and at his classroom door. Maybe to pick him up for a date, and it's the end of the day? He's forgotten something and she's bringing it? It's 'let's learn about autopsies day' and she's giving a lecture?
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:38 am (UTC)
Maybe to pick him up for a date, and it's the end of the day?

Maybe they have a lunch date? She arrives a bit early with lunch and gets to hear the last bit of storytime.

love that the teddy bear is dressed as Thor,

Oh! I totally missed that the first time. So now I have this bizarre idea that Loki transformed Thor into a cuddly toy and he's very much mocking him with this "story time."
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
Maybe they have a lunch date? She arrives a bit early with lunch and gets to hear the last bit of storytime.

Yes, this works. I like the idea of Molly being able to get out of Bart's, too. I feel it would be their third attempt and each previous time Sherlock had shown up and been like 'this is important!'. And then Molly just goes ' no, I am going to the school and having lunch' and Sherlock is baffled because he can't figure out what classes she's taking.

Oh! I totally missed that the first time. So now I have this bizarre idea that Loki transformed Thor into a cuddly toy and he's very much mocking him with this "story time."

"Muahahaha! I am charming the Midgardian children with stories of my bravery, and your disgrace, brother. And when they are grown, we will take over the universe! Or...something."
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:50 am (UTC)
I imagine that Mjolnir has also been made into a soft toy of sorts. Probably attached to one of Thor's hand via velcro or just tied to his wrist with a rubber band so you can snap it back.

I'm over thinking this now.

and Sherlock is baffled because he can't figure out what classes she's taking.

Haha! Oh, Sherlock. You're always the smartest dumb person in the room.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 05:56 am (UTC)
I'm over thinking this now.

That, my dear, is what we do best!

Haha! Oh, Sherlock. You're always the smartest dumb person in the room.

I have this idea that Sherlock never really brothers to remember Alec, and sort has this vague idea that Molly is dating someone, and yes, his deductions match that, but it always comes as a surprise when he actually shows up as a real person. Because there are already quite a few people stored in the memory palace and he's not putting another one in there until he's positive it's necessary.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 05:59 am (UTC)
Because there are already quite a few people stored in the memory palace and he's not putting another one in there until he's positive it's necessary.

It's like in Elementary that Sherlock freely admits that he refers to the other police officers at the station as "Not Bell."

That, my dear, is what we do best!


And when toy!Thor uses toy!Mjolnir to strike the floor, instead of lightening we get some static electricity.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 06:10 am (UTC)
It's like in Elementary that Sherlock freely admits that he refers to the other police officers at the station as "Not Bell."

Hee! I'm switching POVs in the fic I'm working on now, and whenever it gets to Sherlock's POV, Alec is referred to solely as Molly's Boyfriend. And I imagine that until he found room for her, he probably got away with calling Abby 'the baby' and remembering her as 'John's baby'.

And when toy!Thor uses toy!Mjolnir to strike the floor, instead of lightening we get some static electricity.

And a slight breeze.

And Loki is extremely disappointed to find he still can't lift Mjolnir in soft toy format, and has to make the bear do it.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 06:13 am (UTC)
Loki is extremely disappointed to find he still can't lift Mjolnir in soft toy format,

I'm sad that we'll never see a scene of Hiddleston pretending a soft toy hammer is too heavy for him to lift.

I imagine that until he found room for her, he probably got away with calling Abby 'the baby' and remembering her as 'John's baby'.

He's probably hoping that John and Sarah don't have another kid.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 06:17 am (UTC)
I'm sad that we'll never see a scene of Hiddleston pretending a soft toy hammer is too heavy for him to lift.

I feel like this is totally something he'd do in real life if a child came up to him holding one. He does love to stay in character.

He's probably hoping that John and Sarah don't have another kid.

They've successfully passed on their genes. He thinks they should be content now.

I'm off to bed soon. Thanks for being silly with me!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2013 06:19 am (UTC)
They've successfully passed on their genes. He thinks they should be content now.

Surely, Sherlock, you of all people understand the importance of a contingency plan.

Goodnight!
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on November 18th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
Surely, Sherlock, you of all people understand the importance of a contingency plan.

Sherlock: You're not the Royal Family, John, you don't need a spare child!
John: Yeah, not really what we're going for here, Sherlock.

Fortunately, I think in this case Sherlock is safe. John and Sarah are happy with the one. Molly and Alec, on the other hand, might be a different story, if I can get them there.