The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.
The lives of an English working-class family are told out of order in a free-associative manner. The first part, "Distant Voices", focuses on the father's role in the family. The second part, "Still Lives", focuses on his children.
A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin's mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
Today, the letter, the suicide attempt? We're lethal to each other. You can't expect a bloke to go on after he's driven someone to suicide. Much as he loves her.
Do you think that leaving me will drive me away from it?
That's a risk we'll both have to take.
You're scaring me, Freddie.
It's on the level. I don't enjoy hurting you, I'm not a sadist. But it's on the level.
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"Love, that's all." (Hester responds to her husband when he asks her what happened.)
No film in recent memory is as depressing as The Deep Blue Sea, Terence Davies' adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play. In either venue, the story of Lady Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) and her infidelity will sear your brain in recognition of the perfect storm of love and lust sung to the tune of 1950's conservatism, which largely meant staying with a spouse regardless if it's a loveless marriage.
Freddie (Tom Hiddleston), a WWII Brit flyboy, hasn't graduated yet from the romance of that war to the responsibilities of true love in civilian life. Hester unfortunately is ripe for romance with him as her older husband, a high court judge and a peer, is caring but far too reserved to provide a tender woman with the love she needs.
This is a simple film of measured speech in the tradition of West End thespian greatness. Unlike the orderly upper class, love is not simple but rather messy. In the claustrophobia of her apartments, either beautifully appointed with Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale) or bare with Freddie, Hester is always waiting, either for her husband to love her or her lover to stay with her. Ironically Sir William is waiting, too, with love taking its measure of despair from those who love. As for charming Freddie, he is exuberant, careless, and destructfully self-centered.
Davies and Rattigan intercut between times to make The Deep Blue Sea seem just that: fragmented and deeply melancholic. Yet despite the incoherence, you'll not see a better acting trio this year. Where the play lacks vibrancy or heart, the actors give it their best.
When Freddie consoles Hester upon leaving her with this cliché, "Never too late to start again, isn't that what they say?" he is also hitting the center of her tragedy—she is so passive that this may be the first and last adventure she will ever have.
All that's left is the estranging deep blue sea:
Who ordered that their longing's fire Should be as soon as kindled, cooled?
Who renders vain their deep desire?
A God, a God their severance ruled!
And bade betwixt their shores to be The unplumbed salt, estranging sea.
Matthew Arnold, "To Marguerite—Continued"
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