#SUNDANCE: “THE WORLD TO COME”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
In eighteenth-century upstate New York, Abigail (Katherine Waterston) is grieving the loss of her daughter. She begins keeping track of her mundane rural life and interactions with her husband, Dyer (Casey Affleck), by journaling. Her grief slowly begins to alleviate when Tallie (Vanessa Kirby) and her husband Finney (Christopher Abbott) move into a neighbouring cabin.
Director Mona Fastvold creates a beautiful film that depicts grief and love. She works from the Script, written by Ron Hansen and Jim Shepard, that shows life as a settler in the eighteenth-century. Through these four characters, the Film is filled with the knowledge of the oppression and expectations of women during the time. Fastvold perfectly captures this life with stunning shots of candlelit cabins and breathtaking landscapes.
A lot of the speech in The World to Come is from the narration of Abigail. As she keeps her journal, the audience hears her hidden emotions and desires. It’s difficult to execute heavy narration on-screen but Fastvold, Hansen, Shepard and the powerful voice work from Waterston make it an asset. It’s used as a way to get exposition across swiftly and it’s delivered emotionally by Waterston.
This sweeping romance is a captivating watch due to the stellar performances from its ensemble. Waterston is brilliant as the restrained Abigail. She has the ability to show both Abigail’s sorrow alleviating and her love blossoming for Tallie through each interaction. Kirby gives a commanding performance as the confident and direct Tallie. The use of her stature and voice is captivating. Waterston and Kirby work perfectly together and have powerful chemistry.
Additionally, The World to Come takes a look male fragility during the eighteenth-century. They do this primarily through the character of Finney. His anger is targeted towards Tallie due to her not doing household ‘duties’ and producing a child. As this was expected of women at the time, Finney becomes enraged by Tallie. And furthermore, when Tallie desires to spend more time with Abigail than him. Abbott is brilliant in this dislikable role.
The World to Come screens at Sundance:
Live Premiere: February 2 at 3 PM (EST)
On-Demand (available for 24 hours): February 3 at 10 AM (EST)