The Weight of Water


Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22

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Critic Reviews

  1. 75
    Despite the deftness with which Bigelow handles the transitions, the modern story never attains the intrigue and tension of the period tale.
  2. The insistent crosscutting suggests there is something powerful between the two stories, but apart from vague connections of jealousy, emotional tension and conversations that constantly dance around the real issues, they don't resonate across the years.
  3. In the heaving cross-century swirl of the climax, ''Weight'' makes its point: Jealousy is timeless; Hurley is not.
  4. 63
    Though it never rises to its full potential as a film, still offers a great deal of insight into the female condition and the timeless danger of emotions repressed.
  5. 60
    It's an intelligently made (and beautifully edited) picture that at the very least has a spark of life to it -- more than you can say for plenty of movies that flow through the Hollywood pipeline without a hitch.
  6. There is so much to admire in The Weight of Water, Kathryn Bigelow's churning screen adaptation of a novel by Anita Shreve, that when the movie finally collapses on itself late in the game, it leaves you in the frustrating position of having to pick up its scattered pieces and assemble them as best you can.
  7. 50
    Contains multiple ax murders, lesbianism, incest, a hanging, and a storm at sea -- yet, despite all of this seemingly enticing material, it's a bore.
  8. Involves two mysteries -- one it gives away and the other featuring such badly drawn characters that its outcome hardly matters. But the picture looks great.
  9. Shows glimmers of great drama, but jettisons too much essential cargo (character development, relationships, plot, common sense) in an effort to be lean and clean.
  10. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    The two stories never come close to meshing the way the filmmaker intended. The result is a well-acted movie that simply doesn't gel.
  11. 50
    The actors are splendid, especially Sarah Polley and Sean Penn, but we never feel confident that these two plots fit together, belong together, or work together.
  12. Whereas "Posession" was relatively light on its feet, this is so overloaded from the outset that it can only sink.
  13. As a director, Bigelow knows how to get out of the house, but she can be impatient when it comes to humdrum reality. That may account for her interest in Shreve's novel, with its epic tragedies, and it may help to explain the misguided casting of Penn and Hurley, each of whom comes equipped with an oversized personality.
  14. 50
    All the elements are in place for an entertaining murder mystery, but as Bigelow meanders aimlessly back and forth through time, the plot becomes increasingly water-logged.
  15. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Despite recurrent narrative and dramatic problems, each of Bigelow's pics provides a visual treat, and this film is no exception.
  16. The book has been altered in mostly reasonable ways to suit the needs of the screen, but what it loses in the translation is invaluable in comprehending what led someone to pick up an ax and wipe out two-thirds of an island's population.
  17. Penn, in particular, is so subdued he's hardly there, while Hurley's seductive, hyper-articulate Adaline is actually ludicrous, sucking suggestively on ice cubes and reciting poetry like a phone-sex operator pretending to be a book-reading babe.
  18. 40
    Lovingly detailed but unaccountably clumsy, obviously ambitious, and unfortunately chintzy. It's also genuinely anachronistic.
  19. 40
    Perhaps because the present-day characters are such insufferable twits -- especially the brooding Penn, who's given to tossing around stanzas by Yeats and Dylan Thomas -- the modern story feels like a device, a flimsy entrée into events that would be better accessed directly.
  20. 30
    Means to be heavy in terms of psychology, provocation and the examination of emotion, but it sinks like a stone the minute it hits the surface.
  21. 30
    Provides an unfulfilled promise of pleasure (providing one doesn't cave in to the spectacle of bare-chested Elizabeth Hurley sucking on an ice cube) in this heavy-handed exercise in time-vaulting literary pretension.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Oct 2, 2014
    A Dead Again-type of tale, about relationship problems and crimes committed generations apart--a very different kind of film than we're usedA Dead Again-type of tale, about relationship problems and crimes committed generations apart--a very different kind of film than we're used to seeing from Bigelow. I 'got' and enjoyed it--unlike most people--but it's clear she was experimenting, trying something different, out of her comfort zone, which is commendable. It probably proved a beneficial learning experience for her, like Strange Days was, on her road to much bigger and better things. I recommend it for its cast, performances, and very intriguing, if ultimately flawed, plot. If you're patient and are curious about a sensual mystery plot like Bigelow presents here, it will prove a satisfying diversion for you. Full Review »