The Weight of Water


The Weight of Water (2001)


Critic Consensus: The story is too muddled to build any interest.


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Movie Info

Journalist Jean Janes begins researching the 1873 axe-murder of two sisters and discovers new information in the case. Meanwhile, her marriage to writer Thomas begins to fall apart.

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Sean Penn
as Thomas Janes
Sarah Polley
as Maren Hontvedt
Elizabeth Hurley
as Adaline Gunne
Josh Lucas
as Rich Janes
Ciarán Hinds
as Louis Wagner
Ulrich Thomsen
as John Hontvedt
Anders W. Berthelsen
as Evan Christenson
Katrin Cartlidge
as Karen Christenson
Rita Kvist
as Young Maren
Vinessa Shaw
as Anethe Christenson
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Critic Reviews for The Weight of Water

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (25)

The boating scenes have a languid yet charged sexuality, and the performances remain vibrant and rock-solid to the end.

May 30, 2011

Artistically speaking, Bigelow's drama may be her most ambitous and personal film to date, a multi-layered (period and contemporary) psychological thriller that borrows from Bergman's masterpiece Persona; commercially, however, it's problematic.

Dec 20, 2006 | Rating: B-
Top Critic

The jarring jumps between disconnected stories and watered-down sensationalism make for a soggy experience.

Dec 19, 2002 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

The Weight of Water uses water as a metaphor for subconscious desire, but this leaky script barely stays afloat.

Dec 13, 2002 | Rating: 2/4

There are a few wrong notes, and the ending is too enigmatic for its own good, but for a studio production the film is uncommonly intelligent and uncompromising.

Dec 13, 2002 | Rating: A-

Shreve's graceful dual narrative gets clunky on the screen, and we keep getting torn away from the compelling historical tale to a less-compelling soap opera.

Nov 15, 2002 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for The Weight of Water

Either one of the two stories might have been engaging on their own, if they hadn't shown their hand from the very start. A disappointment to know this comes from Kathryn Bigelow.

Gimly M.
Gimly M.

Super Reviewer

I enjoyed the plots. It took a while to become comfortable with the dual stories.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Sarah Polley saves a predictable fable from drowning in Sean Penn's ham.

Gordon Anderson
Gordon Anderson

Super Reviewer


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.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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