Rachel Weisz is a terrific actress at the height of her beauty and power who is trying to push good roles up the hill, with varying results, from “The Whistleblower” to “Agoura.” (More mainstream thriller “Dream House” yielded husband Daniel Craig, but was not a critics’ picture.) UPDATE: Now she has won Best Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle for her towering powrformance in “The Deep Bliue Sea.”
Last year Weisz attended the Toronto Fest with three movies. She rejoined “The Constant Gardener”‘s Fernando Meirelles (who directed her to a supporting actress Oscar) in the sophisticated European ensemble “360,” Peter Morgan’s remake of “La Ronde,” which was picked up by Magnolia after opening the London Film Fest (review here). She also played a juicy but small role opposite Bill Nighy in David Hare’s adept but surprisingly routine spy thriller “Page Eight,” (review, trailer below).
But her labor of love was clearly Terence Davies’ adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play “The Deep Blue Sea,” (review), which is a gorgeously old-fashioned and literate two-hander between an upper-class woman (Weisz) who leaves the constraints of being married to a stuffy judge to jump into adulterous bliss with a handsome, jovial ex-World War II air force pilot (Tom Hiddleston). But her passion for him is all-consuming, and ultimately she is trapped yet again in a situation that leaves her suicidal. Weisz’s towering performance carries the film.
While I don’t entirely agree with The Guardian, which writes that the movie “remains flat as a duck pond, the prisoner of a story whose relevance, even in metaphor, has lost much of its sting, and whose dialogue has more than a whiff of a French and Saunders sketch,” the movie does feel a tad dated, set in a past that has little to tell us now, when women have more choices and romance fewer impediments. Released by Music Box in March, thanks to the New York Film Critics, Weisz’s powerful performance is now a conversation. Now this elegant film–which also made John Waters’ ten best list!– will be seen by more people.