Monday, 9 July 2012


Warning - this is a review of a film and contains spoilers! It also contains general personalness of a personal nature since this human has felt touched by it. Personally.

I watched The Deep Blue Sea.

No not this shit

This one :'S

And I hiccuped and cried like a hiccuping, crying, crybaby all throughout it, gasping at the mercurial, starkly cruel but very justifiable character of Freddie (Tom Hiddleston) and that of the incredibly intense, emotionally overwhelming and equally justifiable Hester (Rachel Weisz). 

I cried not bawling, unattractive tears that make your face vaguely resemble a freshly caned behind - not here the snot strings and prompt suffocation under an avalanche of kleenex. Delicate, pained, elegant tears, swallowed by the pillow I clung to; of one whose soul is so deeply touched by the tragedy that she could swear it could be the far more developed and pretty version of her story had the guy in question been taller, much more attractive or, indeed, Tom Hiddleston.

No, this film spoke to me and I identified and it was uncomfortably familiar to the point of sniffles and stabs in the sternum-region. Making me squirm as I watched the interplay between these characters and recalling similar emotions made this film a winner for me. 

But enough with this malestrom of feels! You needs must have some background on the story!

Originally a play, the film is set around the 50's. Hester is a middle-aged woman married to a very affluent, very emotionally stunted judge played by Simon Russell-Beal. The proverbial mummy's boy, her husband neglects to show her the affection and passion she craves, preferring to pay constant deference to his overbearing and very traditional mother who does not suffer passions nor the blessed fools who nurse them. This she makes clear to Hester who continues to test the bars of the stuffy society through refuting her mother in law's assertions on passion leading to 'a bad end'.

Her husband is not a bad guy - sweet really - he's just slightly more arousing and interesting than, say, grout.

Clearly boredom, a mother in law with persistent excrement beneath her nose, a feckless-in-finesse husband and an uncontrollable emotional temperament are cards stacked against Hester in the still-repressed and uncertain post-war era yet reeling from the fallout of destruction.

One day she begins to feel when a Royal Airforce pilot, Freddie, begins to court her. Their relationship is secret, intense and fulfills Hester's every wish. She decides to leave her home and remain with Freddie until her husband agrees to a divorce.

The happiness is so complete and perfect with the stylistic smudged sepia and ethereal scenes. So much so, that the unpleasantness to come is palpable and you watch the flashbacks to her happiness with apprehension.

The opening scene leaves little room for foreshadowing as we see Hester preparing her apartment for her suicide. She is rescued and swears her saviors to secrecy about her suicide attempt - in particular Freddie's close friend.

The cracks show in the relationship when Hester begins to realise that Freddie does not love her as she loves him. Refusing to accept this, she attempts relentlessly and passive-aggressively to return to the elation she felt at the start of their courtship, often remaining quiet while he vented his quick temper at her in the hope that they would simply make up and everything would be right again.

To me, this echoed the painful stagnation of war on a society of crumbling, constricting conventions. Freddie was directly involved in the war and as a result was away from the country and did not witness the fraying social conventions, keeping a certain tradition to his mannerisms as apparent by his eternal youth and fear of the heavy responsibility of Hester's powerful emotions - a more frivolous hark back to her mother in law and husband's stuffy ideals and prim facade. He seems only to be able to respond to Hester with anger and frustration. I saw this as youth cut short by violence, quasi-formed and burdened with inherent, unsolved vulnerability that made him too unstable, if immeasurably thrilling, for his lover

Conversely, Hester has experience of the cage of society and, without fear, challenges the status quo in pursuit of happiness. However, when confronted by her lover, she makes herself small and quiet, unable to accept the destruction around her and hoping that, by tentatively reaching out, pity would pave the way for love. This is misplaced hope in the strength of Freddie and his affections for her. It only angers him further and pushes him to up the ante in his cruel treatment of her; he being of a more carefree nature, is suffocated by the intensity in Hester. 

On discovering her attempted suicide, their relationship declines sharply. At first he tries to move away from her to lessen the emotional strain on both of them. 

Later he avoids her, reviling her in public, in front of friends and her husband, avoiding her phone calls and refusing to come home lest she 'start talking'. She promises repeatedly that she will not talk or look at him as long as he comes home and lets her see him. What is intensely painful and pitiful is her attempt to remain soft-spoken and shrinking as he demeans her repeatedly. It was physically agonising to watch.

Early on there are disparities in temperament between the two as Freddie is shown to be bored and hostile when Hester takes him to see an art gallery. He makes a dismissive, joke and her failure to laugh elicits  anger from him, seemingly stemming from an inferiority complex at her barbs - he mocks her 'cleverness' before storming off, yelling for all the gallery to hear. Hester is not blameless as she tells him no one questions his bravery (in the war), only his mind.

Ouch. Right in the feels.

Through the conflict, Hester's husband develops stronger feelings for his wayward wife and tries to convince her to come back to him, that he loves her and wants to care for her. She refuses this, being too far gone in her feelings for Freddie and having nothing left to give to her husband.

There are so many scenes where we pick up on the out-of-step nature of the relationship. Like the karaoke scene where she attempts to join in with guesstimated lyrics to Patsy Cline's You Belong To Me. All she definitely knows is 'you belong to me' which just seems to show her inexperience but utter conviction that Freddie is truly hers.

Oh God :'(

Freddie decides to leave Hester in the end, although it would seem it is not easy for him to do so. He tells her that 'we're lethal to each other' with tears in his eyes, doing all of the talking with Hester asking him pleasantly detached questions as she attempts to maintain control of herself. Finally she polishes his boots, one final exchange of words and he is gone.


There is redemption for poor Hester as the end scene is of her standing at her apartment window and wiping away her tears as the sun shines down. Life continues.

I wonder if their relationship would have lasted had Hester any friends with which to spend her time. There were morals left, right and centre; warnings about making your significant other the centre of your world and about love blinding you to your own lack of self-respect willingly sacrificed for an unrealistic ideal. Definitely advice to keep aspects of your life apart from your loved one so that you don't bore each other to Tartarus. I do have my reservations though, since Freddie appeared to be somewhat irresponsible even early on in the relationship and Hester judgmental. 

This film didn't make me feel good. In fact it broke my heart and left me deeply unsettled.

But I believe that was the intent and it did a fucking marvelous job. 

Imma go sob in the corner now.

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