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82

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Hester Collyer, the wife of a High Court judge, is a free spirit trapped in a passionless marriage. Her encounter with Freddie Page, a troubled former Royal Air Force pilot throws her life in turmoil, as their erotic relationship leaves her emotionally stranded and physically isolated. Nearly abandoned by Freddie, Hester attempts to win him back through a desperate gesture. This only serves to estrange her more from the men in her life and reality itself. (Music Box Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Mar 29, 2012
    100
    Rachel Weisz - in what has to be the performance of her career, and there have been lots of good ones - plays an intelligent woman in the grip of a lust that's too big to handle or suppress. She can either ride the tiger or be devoured.
  2. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Mar 21, 2012
    100
    In this typically exquisite, nuanced, memory-infused work from master British filmmaker Terence Davies, we believe every minute of the torment of Hester (Rachel Weisz).
  3. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 22, 2012
    100
    To put the matter perhaps more abstractly than such a sensual film deserves, it is about the fate of untameable, irrational desire in a world that does not seem to have a place for it.
  4. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Mar 16, 2012
    80
    This isn't traditional heritage cinema and it may not tickle the same taste buds that devoured "Tinker Tailor" or "The King's Speech." It does, however, represent the unique vision of an artist who needs to be met halfway, and in an age of hubbub, its patient elegance is a rare thing we should nurture.
  5. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Mar 19, 2012
    80
    Sex is the subtext of everything that happens, yet this may be one of the least erotic movies ever made. It's stern and noble, very much in the Rattigan spirit. [26 March 2012, p.108]
  6. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Mar 23, 2012
    75
    The image that sticks with you here is a smoky pub where the patrons are singing "You Belong to Me.''
  7. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Mar 29, 2012
    38
    The story is maddeningly oblique and incomplete, despite paying what at times feels like excruciating attention to the minutiae of a dying love affair's final hours.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 5 out of 12
  1. May 15, 2012
    9
    This was a profoundly sad film. I don't think I was happy at any point throughout the film. However, the dynamic between Hester and Freddie was so emotionally compelling and heart wrenching. It shows the anguish and misery that is often integrated with love. The movie isn't easliy digested, and I don't think I want to see it again but, I am still glad I did. It was such a real love story and it will rip your heart to shreds. Expand
  2. Mar 27, 2012
    7
    This is one of those tough evaluations. Yes, it explores a very tactile, real, passionate love triangle - an intense young woman in a loveless marriage to an older man falls passionately in love with a fun-loving younger pilot - but it's such a tough movie to get though, that I can't score it among the best of the season. Weisz is perfect for the role, but you just feel like slapping her throughout the film.... "snap out of it!" It's not a film that I can recommend, but it does vividly capture the predicament. Expand
  3. Apr 8, 2012
    7
    Starkly realistic portrayal of the consequences of one-sided, overwhelming, irrational passion. It is no doubt a fantastic film, but the material is so heavy that the film is almost too painful to watch at times. This also makes it a hard film to love and get personally attached to. It is best to stay distant during the film, because if you open yourself up too much, you might get destroyed in the crossfires of the characters' emotions(I kept myself distant, and yet I still found it to be so powerful that it was almost unbearable and stifling). The film may move at a languid pace for some, and the first half is very, very slow, but the explosive power of the end of the film is well worth the wait. Go see the film for its acting. This is clearly the best performance Rachel Weisz has ever done. She is so emotionally distressed during the film that it appears that she might implode at any time. It's not a film to see twice, however. I don't think i'd be able to do it. Expand
  4. Sep 22, 2012
    4
    The Deep Blue Sea is interminable, deadly boring, and it boggles the mind. A sensuous young woman played by Rachel Weisz is unhappily married to an older man who is kind, hard-working, and extremely wealthy. She willfully trades him in for a passionate love affair with a man who is so carefree, irresponsible, and immature that he is positively cruel, but she is so starved for stimulation that she welcomes the cruelty because she finally feels something. In fact, she feels so much that it drives her to attempt suicide, an attempt that occurs at the beginning of the film, yet afterwards, everyone feels secure enough to leave her to her own devices, when she clearly needs a psychiatrist. They had them back in 1950. Sigmund Freud set up his private practice in 1886, so they definitely had psychiatrists back in 1950. Hester's lover, Freddie, played by Tom Hiddleston, chooses to leave her after finding out about the suicide attempt the same day, or perhaps it was the next, not caring a whit that he is almost condemning her to try to kill herself again. The onscreen chemistry between Weisz and Hiddleston is not overwhelmingly genuine, despite a nude love scene where Weisz's character, Hester Collyer, stares lovingly at the sleeping Freddie and proceeds to lick his arm like an affectionate puppy. This was meant to be a sign of uncontrollable passion.

    From the very first scene, Weisz, who has to carry the entire film, has a perpetual expression on her face that clearly states, "I'm not happy." The message of the film is also stated explicitly early on, in a scene where Hester and her husband, Sir William Collyer, played in an understated and expressive way by Simon Russell Beale, are dining with Hester's mother-in-law. Hester says she has no passion for tennis, and her mother-in-law warns her against passion because it always leads to something "ugly" (echoes of Shakespeare's "violent delights have violent ends"), and recommends a "guarded enthusiasm" which is safer than passion, although Hester notes that it is also duller. This brief dialogue lays down the foundational philosophy, superficial and trite though it may be, for the entire film. Anything is tolerable in a passionate, sadomasochistic relationship, as long as, heaven forbid, it isn't dull. When her devastated husband asks Hester for an explanation and wants to know what happened to her, her dreary answer is "Love, Bill, that's all." In this film, love is as welcome as a Blitzkrieg.

    Weisz's performance is uneven, sometimes bordering on electric, as when she stands on the subway platform in grief and despair after Freddie hangs up on her, but often has to depend on her ability to display fleeting emotions that play across her face. She doesn't always succeed and mostly conveys a sense that she is perpetually morose. In the end, Freddie is brutal, and Hester is left abandoned and alone. At first she sobs uncontrollably, but then suddenly walks to the window and stands there--there are a lot of window-gazing scenes--with an inexplicably tranquil smile on her face. The camera pans to what appears to be wreckage still left over from the war. Does passion lead to carnage the same way war does? It's not clear that the film had enough depth, despite the title, to draw that conclusion.
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  5. Nov 16, 2012
    2
    Interminable, indulgent and pretentious (unrequited) love drama which fails to provide one sympathetic main character (rich girl looking to indulge in a spicy affair; volatile paramour with an adosecelent attitude; ageing, doting cuckold). The intrusive, melodramatic score and clanging 'arty shots' further annoy and mystify. Poor show. Collapse
  6. Apr 12, 2012
    1
    This is another one of those movies beloved by the lofty critics and hated by me. Why do I keep getting suckered into seeing these awful movies? It was dark, morose, contrived and dark! Oh did I mention it was dark? Post WW II England, this movie attempts to emotionally manipulate us into caring for a woman torn between lust and who knows what? I didn't care, my wife wanted to leave early as did a friend. Slow, boring and insignificant drivel. Stay home! Expand
  7. May 6, 2012
    0
    This is a low budget, poorly lit and murky, dreary piece with long scenes with dialogue separated by very long pauses. A bit like a silent film in pacing, and limited technical skill. I think the median age of the critics suggest they're very familiar with silent movies, and wish for their return. But to non movie critics, this is a dull, pretencious piece of garbage. How Rachel ended up in this...

    Not only is Finding Nemo a better film, but its also emotionally involving.
    Expand

See all 12 User Reviews

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