The Weight of Water (film)

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The Weight of Water
Weight of Water, The- 2000.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Produced by Janet Yang
Sigurjón Sighvatsson
A. Kitman Ho
Screenplay by Alice Arlen
Christopher Kyle
Based on The Weight of Water 
by Anita Shreve
Starring Katrin Cartlidge
Ciarán Hinds
Elizabeth Hurley
Josh Lucas
Catherine McCormack
Sean Penn
Sarah Polley
Vinessa Shaw
Ulrich Thomsen
Music by David Hirschfelder
Cinematography Adrian Biddle
Miracle Pictures
Palomar Pictures
Manifest Film Company
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date(s)
  • September 9, 2000 (2000-09-09) (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • November 1, 2002 (2002-11-01)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $102,622 (US & Canada)

The Weight of Water is a 2000 film based on the novel of the same name by Anita Shreve. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film stars Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley, Sarah Polley, Josh Lucas and Catherine McCormack. The film was shot in Nova Scotia.[1] Although it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2000, it was not released in the United States until November 1, 2002.

Plot summary[edit]

A newspaper photographer, Jean Janes, travels to the Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast with her husband Thomas, an award-winning poet; his brother Rich, and Rich's girlfriend Adaline. She is researching the murder of two immigrant women in 1873. In a twist of fate, Jean discovers archived papers that appear to give an account of the murders. According to the papers, a third woman, a Norwegian immigrant named Maren Hontvedt, survived the attack by Louis Wagner.

The plot unfolds the narrative of the papers and Hontvedt's testimony against Wagner. Jean privately struggles with jealousy and increasing suspicion as she suspects her husband of infidelity with Adaline.



The film received mixed reviews, with many feeling that Bigelow had not achieved as much weight with the fictional story of the present against her portrayal of the events of the past. Stephen Holden of The New York Times said, "There is so much to admire in The Weight of Water, Kathryn Bigelow's churning screen adaptation of a novel by Anita Shreve, that when the movie finally collapses on itself late in the game, it leaves you in the frustrating position of having to pick up its scattered pieces and assemble them as best you can."[2] Holden felt the two stories "never mesh".[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b STEPHEN HOLDEN, "FILM REVIEW; Women at the Edge, a Century Apart", New York Times, 1 November 2002, accessed 20 August 2012

External links[edit]