As the movie’s title suggests, you can expect the outline of the relationship between the main characters.
The events revolve around Laura (Julia Roberts) a very meek married woman living in a neat, elegant and stylish sea house to Martin (Patrick Bergin), a nice and prestigious looking husband, yet rigid and tough. He puts a strict system to the house, her life, and her routine to the extent that towel alignment has to be straight with no mistake; otherwise it is time for the beat up. She stays patient to his violence even in their intimate time, until she decides to get rid of her trouble.
Unlike the general style of Julia’s most movies, this one is quite different and has unique features such as:
1- Film Objectives
The film combines drama, crime, and thriller genres and employs this blend to spotlight the social issue of domestic violence and build awareness of the issue of women with no real backbone or an income.
2- The Plot
The plot is unpredictable and has a good twist. The writer employed the domestic issue in the events professionally and made it the root cause of all the following sad events. In addition, he chose a real screaming issue in all societies, not only the American one. The pattern of that marriage does exist in our real life, with no exaggeration. The climax is revealed genius. Her husband does not confront her directly when finds her. He gave signs of his existence, which added thrill to the events.
Actors portrayed the characters professionally. Julia is different in this movie. She displayed the frightened woman from her violent husband and feared him even after escaping any potential place he would be in. Patrick is brilliant in this role and considered well known for this leading role in his whole career. He played the character of the psychopath, OCD, intolerant and violent husband fervently and employed his facial features with competence. Kevin Anderson, unfortunately, is not so convincing. His performance is slightly dull in comparison to the other stars in the film crew. Maybe, the focus is largely on the other 2 heroes.
The director, Joseph Ruben, in my opinion, led the entire work. Storytelling is not too straightforward but not so complex as well. The event of Laura’s fall in the sea is the beginning, then her husband started to know gradually that he does not know about her important thing, such as, swimming; she told him and made him be sure that she doesn’t know how to swim, then discovered that she learned swimming in secret before she performs the plan of her escape. The pace and the flow of the movie is perfect. He also delivered the message of the issue exactly. He opened the film on the stunning dream and elegantly neat sea house. The house is a dream to anyone, but later we know it is a prison to the heroine and means nothing to her but Tragedy. On the contrary, when she manages to get her freedom, she lives in a tiny house, but she looks at it as her paradise.
From my perspective, it is a skillful masterpiece of filmmaking and strongly worth watching. Well directed, well written and performed. On a scale from 0 to 5 it would take 4.
© 2022 Rania Heikal