|Movie poster for The Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz|
This is a guest review by Eli Lewy.
Note: major spoilers!
Leaving her comfortable, affluent life with her husband behind, she wonders about what her father the vicar would say about her transgressions; her father who was so anchored in tradition and who felt that pining for the flesh is a sign of weakness, and perhaps more importantly, that it is more proper for men to do the loving. Hester firmly believes that Freddie is ‘the whole of life’ for her, and when she is not in his presence she is a faint shell of a human being. She spends most of her idle time staring out the window, motionless, waiting for her life to come home.
We are introduced to Hester’s volatile state of mind in the very beginning, when she reads out what first sounds like a heartfelt love letter to Freddie yet in reality is a suicide note. Hester has fallen deeply in love with a man who cannot love her the way she so desperately needs. Freddie is far too flighty and is clearly marked by the Second World War in which he served. Externally, she accepts this, keeping her cool composure, yet it drives her mad inside.
London in 1950, when The Deep Blue Sea is set, is not a lively city but one ravaged by war. The tragedy has afflicted everyone who were forced to live through it, and Hester’s romantic inclinations seem to clash with her subdued, pained environment. No one in her poised yet unnecessarily harsh surroundings seems to understand the importance of Hester’s passion — calling it ugly, unserious, and superficial. To Hester, it has given her life meaning. Her husband attempts to bargain with her, to make her see that there are more important things in life, but she is determined to choose this path, even though it may be the end of her. The notion of an adulteress suffering for her sins is ancient, yet the sheer brilliance of the characters’ inner worlds, and the beautiful acting choices made by all involved makes The Deep Blue Sea rise above the anachronistic moralistic tales. There is strength in Hester’s resolution to relentlessly love.