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Film / The Deep Blue Sea

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Freddie and Hester.

"Beware of passion, Hester, it always leads to something ugly."

A quiet, brooding stage play by Terence Rattigan from 1952. Rattigan based his story and characters in part on his secret relationship with Kenny Morgan, and the aftermath of the end of their relationship.

The Deep Blue Sea focuses on Hester Collyer, the middle-aged wife of a British judge. Their marriage is affectionate but lacks passion. Through scenes played out of order, we see Hester fall for Freddie Page, a former RAF pilot who hasn't quite gotten over the war. As her marriage falls apart, Hester finds happiness living with Freddie. But her relationship with Freddie isn't perfect. The play was first performed in London on March 6, 1952, directed by Frith Banbury, and won praise for actress Peggy Ashcroft, who co-starred with Kenneth More.

A feature film version directed by Anatole Litvak was released in 1955, with Vivien Leigh starring as Hester and More reprising the role of Freddie.

In 2011, a second feature film adaptation was released, directed by Terence Davies and starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, and Simon Russell Beale.

Not to be confused with Deep Blue Sea, unless you're looking for predatory fish.

The 2011 feature film adaptation has the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Opens out a great deal from the source material. Writer-director Terence Davies fills in the main characters' backstories through flashback and dream sequences and also expands the roles of minor characters like Mrs. Elliot the landlady. Rattigan's play focuses only on the aftermath of Hester's suicide attempt.
  • Amicable Exes: Hester and William, though they're not technically divorced, since she just left to live with Freddie. When they meet again after a few months, William's not mad at her anymore and it's still obvious they care for each other. He even offers to give her a divorce if she still wants it and wants her to be happy, to which Hester is grateful.
  • Book Ends: The movie begins and ends with shots of Hester looking out the window.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hester has reached hers at the beginning of the movie when she attempts suicide.
  • Fanservice: Naked Rachel Weisz and naked Tom Hiddleston making love. Within the first ten minutes of the movie.
  • Forgotten Birthday: Rachel Weisz' character attempts suicide after her beau forgets hers.
  • Idiot Ball: Subverted. Freddie thinks Hester did this because she tried to commit suicide after he forgot her birthday. However, Hester outright says she doesn't blame him or anyone for what she tried to do, and that this wasn't the reason behind her attempt to kill herself.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Hester's mother-in-law. From their interactions it's obvious the elder woman is barely hiding her disapproval of Hester behind a thin veil of politeness. Hester plays along for a while, but snaps at her at one point.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Hester begs Freddie this way before he leaves for South America.
  • The Remake: There's a 1950s version starring Vivien Leigh and Kenneth More, which isn't well-regarded.
  • Precision F-Strike: Freddie explaining the meaning of FUBAR to Hester.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Freddie's clearly found it hard to readjust to civilian life after his war experiences, though he evinces it more subtly than most such characters.
  • Tearful Smile: Freddie when he is taking farewell of Hester at the end.
  • Title Drop: At one point Hester mentions that she is between "the devil and the deep blue sea".