Saturday, 7 July 2018

THE BOOK OF LOVE (THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA)

A Story of love, caring, the human spirit, loss, letting go, the importance of the stuff of life and value attached to it. Apparently it was originally called The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, in case anyone's confused.

Penny and Henry are madly in love. Building a life together. Expecting their first child. Bought their first house. The film is very quick to build this picture, as there's not much time before she kills herself - in almost comic fashion! I don't think that's worthy of a spoiler alert, as it's not what the film is about. But the film is quick to build that emotion in the viewer - and scenes just 5-10 minutes in are moving ones.

The film is mainly about the relationship which builds between Henry, played by Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, 30 Rock), and Millie, played by Maisie Williams (The Falling, Game of Thrones, Dr Who). She's a quirky odd-ball teenager to whom life has served up hard stuff and who's trying to muddle through, deterred by having to live with a loutish uncle.

She has a dream though. To build a raft and head off to the ocean in it. The reasons for which unfold as the story develops. The delivery is, at times, comic with lots of funny lines and characters thrown into the mix. Penny's mother, played by Mary Steenburgen (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Nixon, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy) is all comedy really, once the viewer gets past annoying!

There's another side to it though - and a much more enjoyable and satisfying side. The side which deals with the unravelling emotions around the death of Penny, played by Jessica Biel (The Illusionist, Hitchcock, Elizabethtown). The way in which the scenes are played out between Henry and Millie, once barriers are broken down and feelings are allowed to develop are most satisfying. These two central characters are acted very well indeed at those times - I just think that they could have lost the comic bits, personally, and allowed this to develop as a straight drama as they were doing so well in that genre.

The near-comic bits also include scenes you might expect to see in the likes of Ghost or Truly, Madly Deeply - when Penny haunts Henry with hallucination. At the end of the day, it's a feel-good film and you have to be in the right mood for it. It's quirky and odd - a bit off the wall - like a good Indie Film would be. The British Williams is growing in command and ability - I spotted her first in The Falling, where she was demonstrating very clearly what talent and potential she had for the future.

There's nothing much to write home about with regards to direction and photography - it's all fairly straight forward and methodical - and we'll forgive a little bit of hand-held camerawork! It's a nice little film and I enjoyed it.
Oh, and apparently Justin Timberlake wrote the score. I didn't notice.

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