Deep Blue Sea, The (2011)

Director:  Terence Davies
Cast:  Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddlestone, Simon Russell Beale
Plot:  The wife of a British Judge is caught in a self-destructive love affair with a Royal Air Force pilot.

Genre:  Drama / Romance

Awards:  Nom. for 1 Golden Globe - Best Leading Actress (Drama)
Runtime:  98min
Rating:  M18 for a scene of sexuality and nudity.



“Beware of passion, Hester.  It always leads to something ugly.”

I have never seen Rachel Weisz so depressed.  You just wanna jump into the screen and hug her.  But of course, you might end up with a face of unbelievable flatness.  Weisz plays Hester who stares into empty space with lonely, sad eyes, and is in a state of confusion most of the time. 

In one key scene, she begs for Freddie (Tom Hiddlestone) to forgive her and be with her for just one more night.  Freddie, by the way, is a Royal Air Force pilot who Hester falls in love with over a few months in an affair that threatens to destroy her stagnant marriage with an esteemed  British judge (Simon Russell Beale). 

For some reason, I kept thinking of David Lean’s Brief Encounter (1945) while watching The Deep Blue Sea.  Maybe it is because both (British) films explore themes of love and passion, and maybe even lust, with characters crippled by societal expectations on how to behave and act.  However, time is ticking, and by extension, life is ticking… away. 

So what and how do we make of forbidden romance?  Terence Davies, the accomplished director of films such as Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992), leaves us with no answers, but an experience that probes the essence of memory and emotional endurance.

Weisz’s performance is extraordinary and well-deserving of her Golden Globe nomination.  Her character breaks your heart, not merely because she is in dire need of sympathy, but because she might just be the one to be blamed for her predicament. 

Set in a time when the memory of war still haunts the mind, Davies’ film gives us Hester’s dilemma of being caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea (where the film takes its title from) – a world of joyous passion with an unstable but charming guy, or a world of luxury and stability with a loving but passionless man? 

The Deep Blue Sea is ultimately an ode to forbidden love and passion, a symphonic arrangement of sorts (the fantastic use of Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto must be applauded) of the hidden desires and emotions that put incredible weight on a woman’s shoulders, submerging her not into the deep blue sea, but a dark abyss that she may possibly never recover from, psychologically or otherwise.

Verdict:  Terence Davies well-composed ode to forbidden love and passion is haunting and heartbreaking.

GRADE: B+ (8/10 or 3.5 stars)

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