The Deep Blue Sea is the 2011 film adaptation of the 1952 Terence Rattigan play. On the surface, this is a gloomy but now conventional story following the aftermath of bored housewife Hester, played by Rachel Weisz, deserting her husband for a man who will never love her. The dull husband, played by Simon Beale, has a decency which forces us to challenge Hester’s decision, but the film’s real power flows from the heroine’s tragic insight – she knows the romance will fail from the very beginning.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is its bleak depiction of post-war London. Attention focuses on the working class squalor of bombed out London, which gels perfectly if starkly with the film’s darker themes; however, the scenes in London pubs, each one a rowdy, drinking choir, reminds us of what was lost when jukeboxes and televisions became pub fixtures. Much maligned karaoke nights may be a snugger fit within the British social landscape than we usually imagine. Hester’s naive ecstasy when trying to join the singing without knowing the words is exceptionally moving.