A lesbian romance is expressed through life and poetry.
“Take “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and “Ammonite,” and you’re able to see the passion inside these lesbian dramas. They may have sex, but they’re not concerned about them. They’re concerned about the women and their environments; and they’re beautiful in their representations.”
That is what I’ve mentioned in my review of “Ammonite,” and the same now applies for “The World To Come,” which is also a period pieces and, this time, stars Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby as two married women beginning an affair behind their husbands’ backs.
The time is 1985 on the American East Coast frontier. Waterston plays Abigail, the housewife to the farmer Dyer (Casey Affleck, also a producer). Their little girl has died from an illness, and their love story has gone bleak. Then, comes another couple from a pig farm-the husband Finney (Christopher Abbott) and his wife Tallie (Kirby). Abigail invites her for a drink, and starts to develop a crush on her.
Between a terrible blizzard and Finney planning to relocate to Ohio, Abigail and Tallie connect quite well, by discussing about what their respective lives are lacking, and beginning an affair. They feel the moving was fate’s plan of separating them.
You can sense when their romance becomes challenging, not only because it’s adulatory, but also because Finney is the more aggressive husband than Dyer. Especially when Abigail catches him attacking her through her window one night.
And then we get all modern, when Abigail and Dyer find out their new friends just left, and the wife wants to inform the sheriff, while the husband doesn’t want to jump to conclusions. Abusive husbands have existed for centuries, but this movie isn’t presented as a generic thriller.
“The World To Come” is not always as understandable or as interesting as the last two period lesbian dramas I’ve praised, but this one is still as radiant and open-minded. It’s not just because of how beautiful the women look with their hairstyles and outfits, but also because of their poetry and sentimental values. Waterston and Kirby are both fine in those particular roles when they express themselves through moods and tones. And both Affleck and Abbott both provide some good supporting work as their respective husbands.
Directed by Mona Fastvold (in her first directorial position since “The Sleepwaker”), and written by Jim Shepard and Ron Hansen, the movie is photographed with a gloomy mood, mainly when it rains and snows. The cinematographer is Andre Chemetof (“The Happening,” “Traitor”), and he matches the atmosphere quite well. And that also applies to the composer Daniel Blumberg makes the scenes sound haunting.
Every time, we see a time card on the screen with the date in cursive, I was reminded of the signatures in Wes Anderson’s movies, especially the way “The World To Come” presents them.
Again, I didn’t understand everything going on and certain sections are dull, but I still liked this movie for its romance, challenges, and passion. And to top it off, Waterston and Kirby are the main attractions of it.