The Weight of Water (film)
|The Weight of Water|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kathryn Bigelow|
|Produced by||A. Kitman Ho
|Screenplay by||Alice Arlen
|Based on||The Weight of Water
by Anita Shreve
|Music by||David Hirschfelder|
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Films|
The Weight of Water is a 2000 French-American mystery thriller film based on Anita Shreve's 1997 novel of the same name. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film stars Elizabeth Hurley, Catherine McCormack, Sean Penn, and Sarah Polley. The film was shot in Nova Scotia. Although it premiered at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival, it was not released in the United States until November 1, 2002.
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 murders of two immigrant women in the same area in 1873, Karen Christensen and Anethe Christensen. 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, which was allegedly done by Louis Wagner, who had once tried to seduce her.
The plot unfolds the narrative of the papers and Hontvedt's testimony against Wagner that gets him hanged, even though she was the murderer, as Jean surmises. Jean privately struggles with jealousy as Adaline openly flirts with Thomas, who openly appreciates Adaline's topless beauty, along with her interest in his work. The movie ends with Hontvedt trying to confess before he is hanged, in vain, as the modern-day characters get caught in a severe storm, where reality and fantasy collide.
- Elizabeth Hurley as Adaline Gunne
- Catherine McCormack as Jean Janes
- Sean Penn as Thomas Janes
- Sarah Polley as Maren Hontvedt
- Rita Kvist as young Maren
- Josh Lucas as Rich Janes
- Ciarán Hinds as Louis Wagner
- Ulrich Thomsen as John Hontvedt
- Anders W. Berthelsen as Evan Christenson
- Jan Tore Kristoffersen as young Evan
- Katrin Cartlidge as Karen Christenson
- Vinessa Shaw as Anethe Christenson
- Richard Donat as Mr. Plaisted
- Adam Curry as Emil Ingerbretson
- Karl Juliusson as Mr. Christenson
- Michele Maillet (uncredited) as Mrs. Ingerbretson
The film received mixed reviews, and currently holds a rating of 34% at Rotten Tomatoes website; the critical summary reads, "The story is too muddled to build any interest". Critics felt 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." Holden felt the two stories "never mesh".
- 2000: Nominated - San Sebastián International Film Festival – Golden Seashell for Kathryn Bigelow
- 2001: Winner - Film by the Sea International Film Festival – Film and Literature Award for Kathryn Bigelow
- "The Weight of Water (2000) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. November 22, 2002. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
- "The Weight of Water". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
- STEPHEN HOLDEN, "FILM REVIEW; Women at the Edge, a Century Apart", New York Times, 1 November 2002, accessed 20 August 2012