True love in Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea
by Juan Arteaga Villar
After presenting his film a few days ago at Toronto and three years after the San Sebastian Film Festival’s full retrospective of his films, Terence Davies returns to the Basque city to vie in official competition with The Deep Blue Sea [+see also:
interview: Terence Davies
film profile], which also marks his return to fiction after his documentary masterpiece Of Time and the City.
Based on a play by famous British playwright Terence Rattigan, Davies has once again chosen the 1950s as the basis for his creative universe.
Without ever lapsing into a feminist portrait, the film centres on the character of Hester Collyer, played by Rachel Weisz to describe the life of a well-to-do judge’s wife who goes through a disaster and extreme situation, reaching the point of leaving him for a former RAF fighter pilot who bears psychological wounds from the conflict.
Davies said that The Deep Blue Sea explores the true nature of love and passion and, despite its bleak and sad setting, offers a worthy outlet for the characters from an adult and intelligent perspective. “Whether it is full of beauty or pain, love must be contemplated”.
As is to be expected, Weisz’s performance is the main element on which the film hinges. The London-born actress gives a superb performance in which she bares her feelings with moving sincerity. For their part, Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale give authentic performances of their characters.
The Deep Blue Sea can be seen as a polished and exquisite chamber piece indebted to its theatrical nature, where Davies returns to the main thematic and expressive characteristics of his work: memory and the past but without lapsing into nostalgia, the trauma of the war, the long silences typical of those years, music and a certain meaning of community that was lost after the war.
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