The play, The Deep Blue Sea, is arguably one of the finest works by Terence Rattigan. Terence Davies, the filmmaker who made this into a movie, is about as far removed from Rattigan as could possibly be. Their styles are very different and Davies choice to adapt Rattigan’s play is definitely an unusual one.
If any other filmmaker had taken on the adaptation of this play, they would have probably stuck with some of the conventions that are always established in a well-made stage production. However, Davies is known for his single-mindedness and he has not been afraid to change the production in order to better suit his requirements.
The change that has taken place in the adaptation for the big screen is significant, and he has transported it to his own universe. Entire pages of dialogue have been cut out of the script and he has restyled the film in his own very expressionistic way. Large parts of the narrative have also been cut out and pasted in other parts of the script.
Those who are a fan of the British theatre may well have a struggle sticking with this new film. It is important to go in with an open mind though and realise that cinema has an incredible expressive power.
That said, he does stick to the basic outline of the original play. The film still tells the story of a woman who is married to a prominent judge and how she is trying to kill herself in her small London apartment. The wife is played by Rachel Weisz and her character is called Hester Collyer.
Those who enjoy the theatre will also be pleased to see that Simon Russell Beale, the stage legend, makes an appearance in the film as the older husband of the woman. Beale rarely makes appearances in films and will perhaps placate some of the audience who enjoy the theatre and were expecting something a little different from the film.
Having failed to successfully kill herself, she later falls in love with another man who has recently returned from the Battle of Britain. This is the character of Freddie, played by Tom Hiddleston, and he represents a new social movement that was taking place in the UK at this time. Her husband represents an old form of oppression that was placed on women, while Freddie represents freedom and the ability to break free from class conscious behaviour.
As you might expect in the film, the relationship is not simple. While Hester very much loves Freddie, Freddie is not as deeply in love with her. The film tells a very well-known story about a leading female character who falls in love with another man, is prepared to leave her husband, but then discovers that the relationship is not everything she thought it was.
The acting in the film is of a good standard in all parts and generally it is an enjoyable production, even for those who have seen it on the stage already.