Tuesday, 3 April 2012


In the space of a week we have seen the release of two films – The Deep Blue Sea, and Goodbye First Love – whose attractive heroines suffer for love. And I suffered right along side them – but not in a good way.

In the former, Terence Davies' adaptation of the Terence Rattigan post-WWII set stageplay, Hester (Rachel Weisz), leaves her older, barrister husband (Simon Russell Beale) for dashing RAF pilot, Freddie (Tom Hiddleston), who doesn't reciprocate her affections quite as strongly; while in Mia Hansen-Love's film, Camille (Lola Creton) has her heart broken at age 15, and spends the next decade (and the rest of the film) pining for her first love, Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky).

While I'm a sucker for a good romance, and an even bigger sucker for a doomed one, neither The Deep Blue Sea or Goodbye First Love could capture my heart. Honestly, I could care less about these two women.

There's no denying how lovely Rachel Weisz is – suffering never looked so good – and this is undoubtedly the best role she's had since winning her Supporting Actress Oscar in 2005 (for The Constant Gardener). But suffering for the all the wrong reasons, and for someone who doesn't love you the way you love them (yes, I know that's the point), isn't so much admirable or noble, as, well, insufferable.

In Goodbye First Love, the advice of Camille's mother to her lovesick daughter is to go see a movie and get over it. My reaction was much the same, although my advice would have been preceded by a slap to the face, Cher to Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck-style: “Snap out of it!”.

Another recent film, Drake Doremus' Like Crazy, had its two lovers separated by the Atlantic Ocean and an unsympathetic bureaucracy. But while the pair in that film may have cried and fretted, they also got on with their lives, something which Hester isn't prepared to do (she'd rather end her life than end the relationship), and which Camille does but as though going through the motions; when Sullivan reappears almost a decade later, she's 15 all over again.

But you can't be 15 again, and you can't make someone love you, try as you might. And try as they might, Davies and Love couldn't make me love their films. Call me a heartless emotionless bastard but the only emotions I felt were frustration and boredom.

Goodbye First Love (Palace Films) and The Deep Blue Sea (Transmission Films) are now showing.

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