The Weight of Water - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Weight of Water Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 27, 2008
I enjoyed the plots. It took a while to become comfortable with the dual stories.
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2008
Sarah Polley saves a predictable fable from drowning in Sean Penn's ham.
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2007
Very strange intriguing premise - solving a 100-year-old double murder - promises much but ultimately sinks under the weight of its own complexity. Even Sean penn and Elizabeth Hurley's flirtations fail to liven things up.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2013
You would have expected more from Bigelow's directorial debut particularly when she had Sean Penn and Sarah Polley to use but this is a boat that seems to drift endlessly with the unlikely revelation of a centuries old murder. A head scratcher by the time the credits roll.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2012
The Weight of Water follows two stories, one about a mysterious double murder in the 1870s, the other a modern day story line that seeks answers to the first. Both are interesting, but the older one much more so. The biggest problem the movie are the shifts between the two, which undercut the effectiveness of both narratives, giving the film a disjointed feel. There's enough to like about both plot lines to keep it interesting, especially the acting, but unfortunately kept down from some ineffective direction.
Super Reviewer
May 9, 2010
This movie switches between the lurid and sensational axe murder of two women in 1873 and the modern day story of a newspaper photographer, Jean (Catherine McCormack) who is researching the crime over 100 years later. Sarah Polley's performance as Maren Hontredt, a young and hard-working Norwegian woman bought to this land far away from her family and married to a much older man is compelling and gripping. She struggles with a cold marriage, a desperate secret and a building internal rage that threatens her sanity. The past sequences were awesome, but I found the present day scene was predictable and lacked character development and continuity. Nevertheless Sean Penn is engaging to watch, and Liz Hurley is well cast as a flirty seductress.

"Women's motives are always more concealed than men's," and this is revealed as we witness the powerful fury of violent emotions that sometimes overtake good people and move them to acts of horror.
October 11, 2015
While I had high hopes for this film, if fell flat, from beginning to end. The apt acting on of Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley, Kathryn Bigelow and Josh Lucas (modern day love triangle) kept the story movie flowing and wanted me to finish it. I feel the acting of Sarah Polley (best of), Ciaran Hinds, Katrin Cartlidge and Vinessa Shaw was also very good, gave the feeling of self-isolation as well as the obvious isolation of living on a big rock (olden days love triangle).

Not to spoil the story line, which I felt it was very jumbled and unimaginative. A soon-to-be writer (Bigelow) and her famous poet husband (Penn) decide to take a "workation" with his brother (Lucas) and his current girlfriend du jour (Hurley) on his sloop racer. They travel off the coasts of New Hampshire to a small group of islands (the Shoals) in order to study an 1873 murder case that took place there. As well as I could have guessed, art imitates life with tragic consequences.

I do realize it is based on fact, somewhat on the old 19th Century murder case. But I feel that the film overstepped it's bounds with a denouement that was a true deus ex machina which I felt cheated (both in the modern and olden times stories). Overall, the film was trying to be daring and bold, while having some good scenes and dialogue, it was too opaque and really didn't deliver what it promised.
½ April 25, 2015
Using an ax requires intimacy.

A newspaper reporter, her husband, brother-in-law, and brother-in law's girlfriend head out on a yaught towards an island off New Hampshire. The island has a historic tale of two girls who were murdered and a lone survivor who was found in a cave. The mysteries uncovered in the historic tale unlock dark issues in the reporter's own relationship.

"Love is never as ferocious as when you think it's going to leave you."

Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Point Break, Near Dark, Blue Steel, and K19: The Widower, delivers The Weight of Water. The storyline for this film was fairly entertaining but I didn't feel the way the two plots were intertwined worked well. The cast delivers okay performances and includes Sean Penn, Josh Lucas, Elizabeth Hurley, Sarah Polley, Ciaran Hinds, and Vinessa Shaw.

"We drew strength from the rhythm from our labors...and God."

The Weight of Water was a movie I came across on Netflix and decided to add it to the queue. I thought this was well done and worth viewing but isn't a classic. This is another lazy Sunday fun flick. I recommend seeing this but I wouldn't go to out of my way.

"Why take the time to drink tea?"

Grade: B-
½ September 14, 2013
I definitely disagree with Rotten Tomatoes review. The acting was great and I felt that the actors were well chosen for their roles. Sean Penn is always great and Catherine McCormack did a great job portraying Jean. Also Sarah Polley was very believable as Maren Hontvedt. I believe the movie conveyed a sense of suspense and mystery, both about Jean and Thomas with Rich and Adaline. When they go back in time, the Norwegian fishing family is also portrayed very well, showing the sense of depression which Maren endures along with disappointment with her new life in America. The suspense builds up with the coming of Evan and his new bride, Anethe. You can almost sense the tension and discontent building up, with Karen's sharp words and Maren's more subtle criticism of her sister and of her husband allowing her to live with them. The director creates a sense of foreboding and gloom on the island and also inside their home. Then with Jean and Thomas, there is tension as Jean becomes aware that Adaline is drawn to her husband. Finally Jean confronts Adaline about this and she realizes that Adaline is not really attracted to Thomas, except for his poetry.

I do not understand why this movie received such bad criticism and reviews. I certainly do not agree with their review and think this is one of the best suspense movies I have ever seen.
May 17, 2012
This film could have been better had Bigelow ditched the modern half of the story and focused solely on Polley's character, which I found intriguing, even if her story wasn't fully fleshed out.
½ August 1, 2010
I enjoyed this film. A good mix of the present day with flashbacks in the 1800's of a bloody double ax murder.
February 7, 2009
I just happened upon this, had never even heard of it. and its a shame, too. more people should see this one. was a nice break from the monotony of the main stream films that I have seen lately. great lil flick.

** review to be continued **
½ July 19, 2009
Okay first off, this movie was shot great, the actors was even better. But the two storys going on in the movie were just wierd. It was wierd but, at the time very, how do I put this, boring. Just the whole movie was unnessesary and not needed. But I will say Hurley was just Amazing in this movie. Pretty bad but hey it has some good actors so watch it for the actors not the dumb story that they try to tell.
May 1, 2008
Slow paced drama involving a syncronicity of events across different times. Kept me interested enough to watch it till the end.
½ February 9, 2008
Lightweight! Too many plot twists, left me looking around for something to do. The intense scenes on the boat were good. Sean Penn is usually much better. Elizabeth Hurley is really good. Definitely will not watch again. Did not care for the soundtrack at all, there were times when the music just did not go with the action.
February 5, 2008
kind of hard to follow but when everything falls into place, it hits you...a captivating mystery that i overall enjoyed
January 16, 2008
I found the scenes of the past mystery to be more compelling than the future story - but this is definitely worth a watch.
January 15, 2008
This film tells two stories. The first, a murder mystery occurring in what appears to be 19th century New England in an immigrant community. The second, the story of two couples - brothers played by Sean Penn and Josh Lucas with, respectively wife (Catherine McCormack) and girlfriend (Elizabeth Hurley) - on a short holiday somewhat casually investigating the matter as they sail around the locale. The timelines are well demarcated cinematically through color and sound (with a couple of odd cuts), and this film will appeal to fans of the neo-noir/mystery genre, as well as folks who like to watch Elizabeth Hurley walk around barely clad. There are some interesting relationships between the past and present storylines, well-filmed parallel stormy crescendos, and some worthy dialogue (such as the extended conversation between McCormake and Hurley about Penn's character).

I liked Mccormack as Penn's troubled photographer wife. She and Ciaran Hinds as the creepy accused murderer in the flashbacks were the bright spots in this film for me. Sarah Polley put in a typically good effort as a gray, twisted, perpetually disappointed young bride in a hard new world. Hurley was hired to ooze naughtiness in this film, and that's what she did by sucking and nibbling on every small object at hand and stroking herself so much that I'd have expected a related rash or friction burn. Was Penn's character an ogling, self-obsessed, unlikeable poet or a grand, tortured poet-soul? "Talent excuses cruelty." Josh Lucas just sort of handsomely floated around the periphery of the troubled threesome for most of the film, and Vinissa Shaw floated through the middle of the earlier timeline as Polley's naive and very sweet sister-in-law.

In the end, there were lots of moments that I liked, but the whole thing left me with a few unscratched itches and that feeling that, like a few of the characters, I'd been quickly diddled and then left alone.
December 3, 2007
Creepy, lots of foreshadowing; you know it ends badly but you're not sure how. Bigelow builds the quiet desperation of Mara's life convincingly and its remarkable that Polley makes us sympathetic to such a selfish character. Also, Penn's the perfect a-hole poet.
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