The Sea

The ocean as metaphor has seen better.

The great thing about the ocean as a cinematic metaphor is that it can represent both life and death, while each drop can count as one of the vast number of fucks the universe does not give about your problems. Unfortunately, Stephen Brown’s The Sea doesn’t do much with this, despite being set in the seaside resort town where grieving widower Max Morden (Ciaran Hinds) vacationed as a child. Max begins to flash back to the summer when he spent time with bohemian couple Connie (Natascha McElhone) and Carlo (Rufus Sewell), and also experiences some of his most profound boners around their daughter Chloe (Missy Keating).

The present-day scenes are in a steely blue, while the flashbacks are in a lush orange and teal, though he also flashes back to less happy times with his dying wife Anna (Sinéad Cusack). The timeline-juggling gets tricky, such a second-act scene of him talking to Anna that cuts to a wider shot revealing that he’s speaking to an empty bed. That’s fine, although the character shaving his signature beard early on doesn’t help the viewer keep the eras straight — and it wouldn’t matter if the picture were more compelling overall. As grief-porn goes, The Sea washes up closer to Every Thing Will Be Fine than Louder Than Bombs.

The Sea
Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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