I have only seen one film by Terrence Davies, "The House of Mirth" with Chicago native Gillian Anderson and adopted Chicagoan Dan Ackroyd. It was not seen by many people as it had a very limited release both domestically and abroad. But it was critically well received winning several foreign film awards including a best actress for Anderson.


It was a film about a woman torn between true love and social position. Anderson nails the role as a woman who sacrifices her own happiness to make sure her peers have nothing to gossip about. It was an extracurricular role during Anderson's X-Files years that shed a different light on her.


"The Deep Blue Sea" is the second film by Davies I have seen and it is interesting that it follows a familiar theme. Like "The House of Mirth" it focuses on a woman who must chose between social status and love - or her perception of love.

This time it is Rachel Weisz who gives the stellar performance. You'll remember her from such films as "The Fountain", "The Constant Gardener", "The Brothers Bloom", "The Lovely Bones" and "The Whistle Blower" - all mostly challenging films. Her big flicks were "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns"... but everyone needs to make a solid buck or two!


In this she plays Hester Collyer a woman living in a post WWII London coming to terms with her recent love life. A life filled once with privilege and now with uncertainty and questions.


She was at one time married to a judge, Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale) who is quite a bit older than she. In every sense she is his trophy bride though there is little to indicate that he ever expressed any passion towards her.


And that is the biggest part of the film, the setting is a destroyed London still with fresh bomb craters and rubble for buildings. Brits were hardened and stoic - emotion was almost forbidden, at least the men thought so. It was the old "Stiff upper lip" routine. And her husband was a master at it taking it on the chin and sucking it up.

Even as she finds the passion elsewhere.


That elsewhere is in the guise of a younger Royal Air Force pilot named Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). They met while he was still flying and he was young and dumb and full of cum - so to speak. In other words he had the passion she longed for from her husband.


Just as in "Officer and a Gentleman" this fly-boy gave her exactly what she wanted and lots of it - even in the face of her husband who continuously remains stoic.


However, when the war end, young Freddie has nothing to do and loses his passion. Unfortunately for Hester, she is no longer with her husband and... oops! She is back where she started in a passionless relationship but this time broke.


Rachel Weisz is amazing as Hester. She boils the blood with passion, then anger, then failure. To say this is almost a one woman show with the others merely as props would be an understatement.


"The Deep Blue Sea" demonstrates that Terence Davies can craft a dark romantic drama effortlessly and he knows how to cast the right woman for the part. On limited release, only a handful of people will see this outstanding film on the big screen unfortunately.   -- GEOFF BURTON