Women laying down in leaves in The World To Come
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Movie Review: The World to Come

All you need to say to me is “period romance” and you better believe I will be ready to watch on opening night. So the second I saw the trailer for THE WORLD TO COME, with its amazing cast and beautiful cinematography, I knew it had my name all over it. I understand some are going to compare THE WORLD TO COME with AMMONITE or PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE due to it being a love story between two women. However, I think the film stands on its own as a melancholy romance between two people who, in the quest to find happiness, find it in each other. While the story doesn’t necessarily tread new ground, it does do a remarkable job celebrating female relationships and exploring the immense fragility caused by grief.

Primarily told through narration from journal entries, THE WORLD TO COME is told through the eyes of Abigail (Katherine Waterston), a young woman who is in an extreme depression following the loss of her child. “I have become my grief,” she states. Abigail’s relationship with her salt of the earth husband (Casey Affleck) is severely strained and she has basically removed herself from what little society exists in their small town. That is, until she finds a friend in new neighbor Tallie (Vanessa Kirby). With her red hair and free-spirit, Tallie is a breath of fresh air for Abigail and the polar opposite of her strict, religious husband (Christopher Abbott).

The two women become fast friends, and their closeness starts to slowly develop into something more. Almost like a teenager in middle school, Abigail’s diary entries become more and more devoted to Tallie, speaking about her beauty and captivating personality, while wondering when the two women will get to meet again. But, of course, things are never sunshine and rainbows and the budding relationship soon encounters life-altering hurdles.

Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston about to kiss in The World to Come

Vanessa Kirby is one of the most talented actors working today, perfectly evidenced in this film, and even more so in PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN (now available on Netflix). I could listen to her deliver lines all day, every day. But this film is really a showcase for Katherine Waterston, who portrays a painfully reserved woman in the depths of grief, whose only real means of expression are through her beautifully written diary entries. Waterston’s ability to show so much with so little is especially impactful when her character finally explodes in emotion at the end of the film.

The intimacy built between Abigail and Tallie is the most critical element of the film, and to say I was invested in their relationship the second the two laid eyes on each other is an understatement. The most interesting part of the film is the director’s choice to hold the more intimate moments between the two women until the end of the film. It almost leads the audience to wonder if they actually happened or are just in the deepest parts of
Abigail’s imagination.

I am going to be real with you. If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted film, THE WORLD TO COME is not the movie for you. When the credits started to roll, I sat in silence for a good 15 minutes taking in what I had just watched. Was I upset? Was I confused? Did I need a drink? It’s always a sign of a good, or at least interesting, movie when you start to really explore your thoughts and feelings when it is over, and you better believe I did with
this one. 

My Review: B

Check out THE WORLD TO COME in theaters on February 12 and on Demand March 2!

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