Netflix Instant Streaming Review: The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

Directed by: Terence Davies
Adapted by Terence Davies from a play by Terence Rattigan
Rated: R
Running Time: 98 min

Rachel Weisz as Hester Collyer
Tom Hiddleston as Freddie Page
Simon Russell Beale as Sir William Collyer
Set in post-WWII London, The Deep Blue Sea is follows Hester, a young woman married to a much older, wealthy judge who falls in love with a younger man. The film opens on a scene of Hester in a very grim apartment. The furnishings and wallpaper suggest that she is quite destitute. Beautiful music plays as she places her suicide note on the mantle, swallows some pills, puts money in the gas furnace, and settles on a blanket on the floor to await her death. As she floats in and out of consciousness, she remembers scenes from her life. As I said, she is married to a much older man. As his wife, she lived in a beautiful home with expensive clothes, but she was living a life of quiet desperation. The two appeared to live side by side rather than actually together. She also remembers the beginning of her affair with Freddie, a young war hero who is also a friend of her husband. There is a breathtaking scene between Hester and Freddie as they make love. The camera is above them and slowly spins as it also pans over their bodies. At first, their nude bodies are entwined and as time passes, Freddie slowly turns his back to her. I have never seen a shot like this and I thought it was a wonderful way of expressing the indifference Freddie begins to feel for Hester.

As the audience wonders if this is the end for Hester, her landlady and a neighbor of shady repute find her and save her life. As she recovers, Freddie returns from a trip and finds the suicide note. Although she begs him not to read it, he does so and becomes enraged, convinced that she attempted to take her own life simply because he forgot her birthday. Hester follows him to a pub and begs him to come home. This scene is excruciating to watch. It is clear that Hester no longer has any pride at all. Even though she knows that her love for Freddie is unrequited, she can't seem to help herself.

Her husband, William, reappears after being summoned by her landlady. He clearly still loves her and quite possibly would take her back. It is heartbreaking to watch as she attempts small talk, all the while William is clearly uncomfortable in her new squalid surroundings. He wants to help her, but they both realize it's no use. Hester has gone down the rabbit hole and there is nothing to be done for her.

The film is a study of the dynamics of love affairs when only one person is in love. William clearly loves Hester, but her feelings for him never venture beyond fondness and respect. Her passionate love for Freddie causes her to walk away from a life of privilege to a life of absolute poverty. But just like a person addicted to a dangerous substance, Hester can't seem to give up Freddie.

Rachel Wiesz is literally luminous as Hester. She has grown into herself and has never looked more beautiful, even as she tries to kill herself. Her acting appears effortless; I couldn't take my eyes off of her.

Tom Hiddleston's Freddie is despicable, but you can understand why she loves him. He is the exact opposite of her husband: funny, gregarious, friendly, and passionate. But he is also quite narcissistic and immature. He is clearly not ready to make a commitment to anything or anyone.

And Simon Russell Beale is able to say more with a look or with the movement of his body than other lesser actors could say with words. He is quite sympathetic which makes Hester's transgression all the more egregious.

The Deep Blue Sea is available now on DVD or Netflix Instant Streaming. If you like a quiet, contemplative film, then this is the one for you. It may not hold your attention if you need more dialogue or action, but it is definitely worth taking the time to watch.

Thanks for stopping by and getting buzzed!