Customer Review

25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a Shallow Blue Lake, 6 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Deep Blue Sea [2011] [DVD] (DVD)
Although I was expecting a brittle and dated unhappy love affair, this remake of Rattigan's play proves quite moving up to a point. Set around 1950, the film starts with the attempted suicide of Hester Collyer, privileged wife of a high court judge who has sacrificed her reputation and material comforts to live in a dreary flat with Freddie, a former wartime pilot who beneath his charming veneer is finding it hard to adjust to a mundane life in civvy street .

The plot gradually reveals through a series of flashbacks how Hester has been reduced to despair. At first, it is hard to understand how this beautiful young woman could have married such a stiff man as William Collyer, not to mention the fact he is old enough to be her father. Then we wonder how such a cultured woman can be so infatuated with a man like Freddie who, apart from his thoughtless neglect of her, prefers downing pints and singing along in a working class pub to visiting an art gallery with her or listening to classical music. Is it just a question of passion and lust, applied through fate to a man who cannot make her happy in the long-term?

Although acted with great sensitivity by Rachel Weisz, Hester is an odd mixture of sophisticated self-possession and neediness, and comes across at times as just a "poor little rich girl". By contrast, the two men, ably played by Simon Russell Beale and newcomer Tom Hiddleston reveal complex reactions in a way that eventually arouses as much, if not more, sympathy.

The set plays close attention to period detail, although the Barber score at the beginning is too loud and intrusive, as is too often the case with films, and the flashback to people taking refuge in an underground station during the Blitz is too much of a romanticised tableau.

A modern version of the theme of a married woman forming a passionate physical attachment to an "unsuitable" man is covered with more depth and subtlety in "Leaving", the French drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas. "The Deep Blue Sea" left me feeling rather sad, but a little dissatisfied as if Rattigan's drama had not achieved its potential.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Dec 2011 21:22:27 GMT
GlynLuke says:
What an excellent and, to my mind, wholly accurate assessment of this touching film. I`ve just seen it, and found it much as you describe, though I`d up the star rating to 4. What a stunning actress Rachel Weisz is, with that face so full of expression and yet so withdrawn into itself at the same time. One or two scenes seemed a little laboured, as if drained of the stuff of life, such as the mealtime scene with William`s mother. I thought the ending perfectly judged.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Dec 2011 09:08:51 GMT
Antenna says:
Thanks for your positive feedback.

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 18:47:36 BDT
The solution is to get The Terrence Rattigan Collection where you will find this story in a TV production. The Deep Blue Sea, 12 November 1994, directed by Karel Reisz, with Colin Firth, Ian Holm, Carmel McSharry, Penelope Wilton. You will also get the best version of The Winslow Boy and Alan Badel play Sir Robert Morton in the bit of best acting I have ever seen. The is by far the best Winslow boy with Eric Porter and Michelle Dotrice also being outstanding.
If you want The Browning Version get the film with Michael Redgrave's definitive performance.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2012 08:25:05 BDT
Antenna says:
Thanks for your comment which reminds us that than good existing productions are often superior to remakes.

Posted on 20 Nov 2012 20:12:42 GMT
Abe Raman says:
"Rattigan's drama had not achieved its potential"

This isn't Rattigan's drama, but a dumb, cliche-ridden, pretentious and offensive rewrite by an important film director called Terence. Watch the interview with him on the special features, and hear him explain how he's qualified to amend the original text; then look at the original text to appreciate the enormous extent of the changes the genius cameraman has made.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2012 21:39:33 GMT
Antenna says:
It's common, acceptable, perhaps at times even necessary and desirable for a film version to take liberties with an original stage play, and the result may be as good, even better, but different. I agree that in this case the changes did not improve on the original.
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Review Details

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3.5 out of 5 stars (50 customer reviews)
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Antenna
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Location: UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 125