I was expecting to love this film, an examination of self discovery with Eddie Redmayne playing Einar Wegener, the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery, set in 1920s Denmark. And there is a lot to like. Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, who plays his wife, act their Oscar nomination worthy hearts out. The cinematography, costumes, music,make up and ambience are sumptuously gorgeous. But it was all a bit too glossy and perfect, I didn’t feel the struggle that it must have been for Wegener, both in society and within himself. The film was more interested in showing us how the emerging Lilli Elbe learned to copy feminine gestures than in the despair that must have driven him to undergo such a dangerous and experimental surgical procedure.
Beautiful but ultimately lacking, it was all a little too superficial for me and I didn’t feel emotionally connected to any of the characters by the end of the film.
Based on the Incredible True Story that Inspired Moby Dick.
20152 h 01 min
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In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.
‘Secret screening’ in 3D at my local cinema. When I booked, this was the film I was hoping for because the trailer looked good. However, although I enjoyed the spectacle and CGI of stormy seas, sailing ships and whales crashing about the major flaw in the story, for me, is that it was hard to feel sorry for the human cast when the giant whale wreaks revenge. As he looms out of the water and flattens boats with his tail the word that came to mind was karma. We were subtly reminded several times that this was not gratuitous killing because communities depended on the whale oil for heat and light and one character near the end of the film marvelled about the new discovery – finding oil underground. (See we hadn’t even discovered oil in the ground, we HAD to kill whales).
In the film the story of the giant whale versus the crew of the Essex was being told by a survivor to author Herman Melville the writer of the classic Victorian novel, Moby Dick. He was told the ‘secret’ of how the remaining crew managed to survive weeks at sea but chose to leave those details out of his fictionalised version.
I found the main story of the movie was formulaic. Inexperienced posh boy George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), the shipping line owner’s son is given the captaincy of the Essex that had been promised to the working class but experienced Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth). Square jawed, alpha male Chase proves to be better at just about everything in this battle of wills between the two men.
In the end it was just average, good CGI and stormy seas balanced with a less than average storyline.