The Deep Blue Sea is the cinematic equivalent of seeing an intense flame flicker and eventually extinguish in a mournful manner. The film charts the passionate affair that Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) has with a former Second World War RAF pilot- Freddie Page. (Tom Hiddleston) Rather than being a societal condemnation of the central plot point; Blue Sea is instead a powerful and potent exploration of Collyer’s conscience and mindset in the midst of this forlorn period of her life.
Some of the film’s early scenes effectively illustrate this central idea as the audience is shown impressionistic flashbacks of Collyer’s time with Page. In the first five minutes of the picture, director Terrance Davies effortlessly makes the film purposefully fleeting which gives the film this acute sense of unreality. Nearly every shot within this brief time span last a mere second, and it truly conveys the transient nature of love and time.
However, Davies is not a slave to this surreal structure as the social values of 1950s Britain are very much ingrained in the fabric of the picture and work as showcasing the thematic exploration of love in the film. For example, in perhaps the most crucial scene of the picture, Hester’s mother in law expounds upon the destructive nature of passion by simply stating that “It always leads to something ugly.”
The scene is important in setting up the conflict between passion and devotion. These are two essential elements of love that the film explores and ultimately it shows a balance between both is required if a relationship is to flourish. This conclusion called to mind the Aristotelian principle of the Golden Mean, which states that if one wants to live a virtuous life, then their actions must always be between two extremes. The Deep Blue Sea is also a vivid illustration of this Aristotelian doctrine.