September 23, 2021

TECHgyrl Presents:

Inimitable MUSINGS

Like A Sloooow Burn From A Lazy Flame

The World to Come review – desire burns ever so  S L O W L Y in this frontier romance

Directed by Mona Fastvold
Screenplay by Ron Hansen
Jim Shepard
Based on The World to Come
by Jim Shepard
Produced by Pamela Koffler
David Hinojosa
Casey Affleck
Whitaker Lader
Margarethe Baillou
Starring
  • Katherine Waterston
  • Vanessa Kirby
  • Christopher Abbott
  • Casey Affleck
Okay, Look I know we are all used to seeing the hesitant kiss, the accidental touch Blah Blah Blah get the pictutre? Remember that Saturday Night Live sketch that parodied Lesbian Period Drama movies?
Well, this is NOTHING like those movies, and we can thank the Goddess of Lesbian Cinema for that.

In 1850s America, farmers’ wives Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston connect in an intimately  powerful, yet understated drama

Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston in The World to Come.
‘Tingling intimacy’: Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston in The World to Come. Photograph: Bleecker Street Media/Vlad Cioplea/Allstar

Trailer for The World to Come: (Don’t be fooled by the Trailer)

“I have become my grief.” Abigail (Katherine Waterston) writes in the journal that was intended to be a ledger of the details of 1850s US frontier farm life but instead turns into a poetic account of her inner turmoil – Emily Dickinson-inspired moments of anguish as she chisels ice from the potatos for lunch.

Then one day a wagon rolls past bearing the new tenants to the neighboring holding. The husband barely registers, but the wife, Tallie (Vanessa Kirby), is magnetic:  Reddish Gingered shoulder-length curls, curious eyes seeking out Abigail’s gaze and holding it in a moment of muted intimacy.

Love, at first sight, isn’t a frivolity afforded to women of this era, as they were chosen by their husbands for their “good sense, efficient habits and handy ways”.

Taking its cue from Tallie’s Ginger coloring, the film warms once Tallie arrives. Abigail’s farm – a glum, building, dark, featureless takes on the comforts of a home.

The connection between Tallie and Abigail is born out of confidences shared about marriages in which “wifely duties” are often a topic (That always gets in the way), and are just another onerous addition to the seemingly interminable list of chores that includes: Darning, milking cows, and shoveling manure…Nonetheless, the ‘connection’  Abigale and Tallie share blossoms into something richer.

This is a subdued kind of storytelling. Passions run deep, making them feel like whispered secrets in a church rather than a grand gestured-like soul-baring declaration (e.g. Imagine Me&You), in which the protagonist Rachel (Piper Perabo) shouts: (You’re A Wanker) to her lover LUCE (Lena Heady), who is standing on the roof of a car that is several yards away, sitting static in gridlock. In The World To Come there’s a satisfying literary intelligence at work.  This movie subverts expectations often found in a conventional lesbian romance.

I am not usually a fan of period pieces, and yet not since the Academy Award Winning film, The Favourite has there been a movie that pulled me in so deeply that it was nearly over (As I sat mesmerized in front of the screen) before I checked the time. 

The viewer must watch the entire movie to its end.

Grade: A
Available rent or purchase from  Amazon Prime Video, YouTube movies, HULU.
SPOILER WARNING: I am going to add more to this review because I am finding it difficult to reconcile the depth of hostility displayed toward the people who produced, wrote, or were otherwise involved in the movie’s creation.
I am no fan of Casey Affleck, I can barely tolerate his brother Ben, so when Casey became known for his sexist antics, I wrote him off. I made it a point to not knowingly watch his movies and was unaware of his involvement in The World To Come until after I had watched the movie.
Now, if you remember the movie: BOUND that starred Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon, the Wachowski’s stated in interviews that they put the sex scene within the first 15 minutes of the movie so that they could get that out of the way and allow viewers to concentrate on the storyline. Basically, the same technique was incorporated for this movie but instead of putting the sex in the 1st quarter, it was placed at the 4th quarter of the movie. Passionate scenes are interspersed with the dates of each encounter.
 I am not a young girl so I don’t need to watch lesbian movies in order to familiarize myself with the intricacies of lesbianism. Nor, do I seek a roadmap to learn love-making techniques and I can safely assume that many of my readers don’t have those same requirements either. So, I ask the reviewers over at Lady Parts on YouTube: What’s with the criticisms and mocking: “Look what I made”?
If you want to know why we had to wait for the sex to occur?  I repeat that it was to establish the emotional bond between Tallie and Abigale first.
I cannot believe some lesbians wanting that tired old sh!t we see weekly on the L Word Generation Q. Just when I had resolved myself to the notion that maybe there wouldn’t be intimacy between the main characters did I receive a pleasant surprise.
Critics shouldn’t complain about the filmmakers not understanding the audience when they barely display an understanding of the audience themselves.
The 19th century was a time in America when domestic violence was sanctioned by law (At least common law: e.g. The Rule Of Thumb). Infidelity was often met with trial by fire, or a cup of poisoned tea.
Likewise, Tallie’s demise was less a matter of killing off Lesbians in Popular-Culture, having more to do with the lack of ‘Specialized Medicine’ geared towards treating catastrophic illness.  An illness (Diptheria) that had been referenced as a key factor in the death of Abilgales daughter, and now Tallie.  Something that is so successfully treatable in the 21st Century, must have seemed like a plague of Biblical proportions in 1856.
The World To Come is a Masterful exploration of themes such as Isolation, Domestic Violence, Sexuality, and Self-Discovery.
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