There are quite a few similarities between the 1945 British drama Brief Encounter and the newly released Deep Blue Sea. Both stories are set in post-war England, a drab and darkly lit place where background buildings show the ill effects of Germany’s bombing raids and where the sun rarely shines. Both tales bring to light the inner frustration of women caught in difficult situations where the sum of their choices and regrets, understood as matters of the conflicted heart, may lead them down the road toward unhappiness or social stigma. Rachel Weisz is simply brilliant at playing the unhappy wife who falls for a younger, ex-fighter pilot to escape her bland, loveless marriage, only to find out that life is rarely forgiving when the comforts of privilege and stability are stripped away. I’ve always enjoyed the acting of Weisz and I’m hoping her performance receives some attention come award season. The film’s reoccurring score is also a lush and beautiful lament that captures the somber tone perfectly.
Brief Encounter, directed by the great British director David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Bridge on the River Kwai) also tackles the subject of temptation and fidelity (see also: In the Mood for Love). A lonely but relatively content housewife meets a stranger at a railway station, sparks fly and the two develop a romance that may or may not lead to something further. Both films have very straightforward, traditional plots that rely heavily upon the authentic, emotional turmoil of conflicted characters and the choices they make and their subsequent consequences.
Deep blue sea