The Sea (2013)

The Sea (2013)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Sea Photos

Movie Info

Grieving after the death of his wife, art historian Max Morden returns to the sleepy seaside resort where he spent summers as a child. Max lodges at a boarding house he once frequented, where frosty proprietor Miss Vavasour, and eccentric resident Blunden, now reside. Before long - and despite protestations from his daughter Clare - Max revisits the ghosts of his past. Max's mind returns to an idyllic summer in 1955 when, as a child, he encountered the Grace family. Carlo and Connie were unlike any adults he had met before: nonchalant, bohemian and filled with worldly grace and candour. Young Max befriends the young Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, and his fascination for this unconventional clan transforms into intimacy and love. Meanwhile, the children's young nanny Rose, an outsider like Max, regards the Grace's new surrogate with quiet suspicion. While Max attempts to deal with the loss of his wife, and recalls moments with his departed partner Anna, he also confronts a distant trauma from the past. This film is a haunting, uplifting, meditation on the human condition - at times elegiac, poetic, and nostalgic. A story of memory, love, loss, regret... and the persistent possibility of rebirth.
Directed By:
Written By:
Rooks Nest Entertainment


Charlotte Rampling
as Miss Vavasour
Ciarán Hinds
as Max Morden
Natascha McElhone
as Connie Grace
Rufus Sewell
as Carlo Grace
Sinead Cusack
as Anna Morden
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Sea

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (2)

The film can't match the novel's elegant, startlingly excellent Booker-Prize-winning writing, but the cast is first-class.

Full Review… | April 15, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

This good, middlebrow adaptation ... sacrifices much of the novel's structural intricacy for Masterpiece-style emotional accessibility.

Full Review… | July 3, 2013
Top Critic

The Sea, depending on your arthouse cinema stance, is either wonderfully languid, self-indulgent torture, or just plain bloody torture.

Full Review… | January 28, 2016

Ciarán Hinds engages in some pointlessly dour Irish brooding at the beach.

Full Review… | April 25, 2014
Flick Filosopher

Though a flawed piece of cinema, The Sea marks a quite promising debut for Brown, as a film that certainly stays with you long after the credits roll.

Full Review… | April 22, 2014

What we have is a 90-minute mood piece, then, which is all well and good. But 90 minutes is still a long time to be caught in a depressive undertow.

Full Review… | April 22, 2014
Sunday Independent (Ireland)

Audience Reviews for The Sea

Overview: In a rather strange tale, you'll watch an old man grieve as well as witness his time with a rather strange affluent family when he was a child. Review (with Spoilers) Between Bonnie Wright from After the Dark, and of course Harry Potter; Ciaran Hinds from Game of Thrones and Political Animals; and then Natascha McElhone of Californication fame; I was more than ready for this movie. If just because they seemed like a weird mix of a cast, and I had trust in them. Which, after seeing the film hasn't faltered, though I do think in the future I need to remember that normal, everyday, type of media isn't really what these folks go after. Characters & Story Max (Matthew Dillon & Ciaran Hinds) is the focus of the movie and we find ourselves jumping from present day, when he mourns the death of his wife Anna (Sinead Cusack), and his younger years when he would hang around the Grace family. Now, in his older years he is a downtrodden, alcoholic, writer who seems to be taking his wife's death hard to the point of potential suicide. However, in his younger years, as the son of working class parents it seems life was only a smidge better. Though with his younger years taking place over a summer, in which we watch him fall for Connie Grace (Natascha McElhone) and her daughter Chloe (Missy Keating), as well as deal with Connie's odd husband Carlo (Rufus Sewell) and mute son Myles (Padhraig Parkinson), there is a constant wonder of why the house where the Grace family lived, which is now owned by Miss Vavasour (Charlotte Rampling), is talked about as if it contains nothing but bad memories? Praise When it came to what happened in Max's past, with Dillon at the reigns, I found myself quite interested with what went on. If just because the Grace family, and nanny Rose (Bonnie Wright), presented the type of life and story which made me wish that was the sole focus of the film. If just because they all were so weird. Connie is this lovable free spirit who, possibly like her husband, was having an affair, then there is Myles and Chloe who seemed like children straight from one of The Omen movies. For with Myles seemingly being capable of speaking, but choosing not to, and acting like a little monster Chloe has some sort of control over, you often are left scratching your head and am hoping everything gets explained. Especially when it comes to Chloe's relationship with Max which I guess was just supposed to be a summer fling but, again, there is so many weird things going on when it comes to the Grace family that honestly, sometimes you just feel like questioning their motives too much is futile. Criticism However, when it comes to the later years, of which Hinds takes over, any interest I had in the film quickly dissipated due to older Max having a boring story and coming off rather uninteresting. For one, Max is a miserable drunk and his story and character feels like it lacks the depth necessary for you to care about him. Which I found strange since the younger years are so intriguing. But with there being no reason given to care about Anna, Max's daughter Claire (Ruth Bradley), Miss Vavasour, Alfred (Karl Johnson), and especially older Max, it makes the time you spend with older Max seem like filler. For even with it being shown why he has become an alcoholic, and then the mystery dealing with why Miss Vavasour's home contains sad memories for Max, honestly Max just isn't likeable, nor interesting enough, to care about in his older form. Overall: TV Viewing I believe if this film more so focused on young Max, or solely on him, this may have been one of those films I would have a hard time choosing between TV Viewing and Worth Seeing. However, the time spent with older Max isn't memorable, and quickly leads you to find distractions until his younger self appears once more on screen. Thus leading to a firm TV Viewing label for the Grace family, and Dillon as Max, is what makes this movie appealing. For as weird, and sort of messed up, as the Grace family is, that brings the film its intrigue which helps balance off the less likable parts of the movie's story.

Amari Sali
Amari Sali

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