Review: The World to Come

Title: The World to Come
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Mona Fastvold
Starring: Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Casey Affleck
Runtime: 1 hr 45 mins

What It Is: It’s the mid-19th century somewhere in the Eastern part of the United States. Abigail (Waterston) and her husband Dyer (Affleck) live a happy life with their young daughter Nellie (Karina Ziana Gherasim). That is until Nellie falls sick and eventually dies. Grief-stricken and emotional Abigail is not in the best of places when the couple gets new neighbors. Finney (Christopher Abbott) and his wife Tallie (Kirby). When a friendship…and then some brews between the lonely farmer’s wives that is perhaps not what Finney had in mind. Even if it proves a saving grace for both women.

What We Think: There are things here to love. Fastvold, for example, has the films looking “of the period” there are lighting decisions made and the costumes are spot on. Kirby continues to be absolutely excellent with every role she’s given and Waterston is a reliable actress as always. Affleck and Abbott play juxtaposed male figures and they’re great. I’d say the biggest issue here is the glacial pacing which could lead to audiences drifting away from the film. To those that stick around, they’ll find a good but not great story whose themes of isolation leading someone into the arms of another (unexpected) person sort of a retread. For example Portrait of a Lady on Fire features these themes and handles them in a simpler, better-paced fashion.

Our Grade: C+, Bleeker Street has brought forth a really good production that struggles to be great in the face of the exquisite talent involved. Really it’s Waterston and Kirby that deserves far better. Kirby following up her Oscar-nominated turn in Pieces of a Woman with this is a bit of a disappointment. Either way, as period romances go this one is strictly the middle of the line. Man, it could’ve been so much more.