The first fiction feature in a dozen years from visionary British director Terence Davies is a film about love that in no way reassures that love conquers all. Plumbing disquieting depth, Deep Blue Sea interrogates the insoluble expectations of romantic love: that we can or will find every quality that we want in a single person. Lady Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) has left her husband, high court judge Sir William (Simon Russell Beale), and a postwar life of cultured conversation and posh fireside comfort, to live in slummy sin with Freddie (Tom Hiddleston), an emotionally immature former RAF pilot who survived the Battle of Britain but never readapted to civilian life, and whose lovemaking has irreparably shaken the foundations of Hester's existence. After a botched suicide attempt, Hester recalls the events that led her here, establishing the pattern of alternating between the present-tense drama of Hester and Freddie's affair in its final dissolution—accompanied by the re-emergence of Sir William—and its history. In a richly symphonic work, Davies and his cast create the rare triangular affair where every side of the triangle is drawn with equal care and sympathy, where each party's hopes—and their disappointments—are eloquently understood.
A not-brief-enough encounter: Hiddleston and Weisz.
Opens Fri., April 20 at Seven Gables. Rated R. 98 minutes.