With all eyes focused on Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games this weekend, not many will notice Music Box Films’ quiet limited (NY, LA, Miami) launch of their 2011 Toronto Film Festival pickup The Deep Blue Sea. It’s the first narrative film in over a decade from British director Terence Davies — his last was 2000’s The House Of Mirth — and stars Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz in another Oscar-bait role. Davies did do a highly regarded 2008 documentary, Of Time And The City, in the long interim between narrative projects.
With an impressive 84% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and major raves today from the NY and LA Times among others, Weisz and the film are winning the kind of top reviews that Oscar voters usually notice. In fact, Music Box was toying with the idea of opening the heavy relationship drama for a week in December in order to qualify for the last Oscars but finally decided it was not in the film’s best interests to rush it out there — especially with such a competitive Best Actress race already going on. Plus, Weisz had another potential awards role with the August release The Whistleblower, so it might have just confused things, though as it turned out the Samuel Goldwyn Co did not end up campaigning Whistleblower in any significant way. A March opening for Deep Blue Sea is a tough time for releasing Oscar contenders and hoping they will be remembered. Nevertheless Weisz’s emotionally naked performance as a 1950’s-era woman caught in an unsatisfying marriage and embarking on a torrid affair with a younger man (played by War Horse’s Tom Hiddleston) is the kind of thing actors crave, and it’s certainly one of the few female roles of any real substance to surface at this early point in the year. (more…)