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Movie Review

The Deep End

MPAA Rating: R for some violence and language, and for a strong sex scene

Reviewed by: Jason Eaken
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
2001
USA Release:
January 21, 2001
Relevant Issues
Goran Visnjic and Tilda Swinton in “The Deep End”

What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.

What does the Bible say about same sex marriages? Answer

What should be the attitude of the church toward homosexuals and homosexuality? Answer

Personal stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, Jonathan Tucker, Raymond J. Barry, Josh Lucas
Director: David Siegel, Scott McGehee
Producer: David Siegel, Robert H. Nathan, Scott McGehee
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

There are some movies that you watch and then simply forget about. Then, there are those films which have characters so beautifully drawn that you are dazzled by them. They are a joyous slice of life, though the plot may not be. Such is the case in “The Deep End” which stars the actress Tilda Swinton in a performance certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination.

She plays Margaret Hall, mother of three, living with her father-in-law(the great Peter Donat), husband off on an American carrier of some kind. Her son Beau (played by Jonathan Tucker) is gay, and is involved with an older man named Darby (Josh Lucas) though his mother doesn’t know… but likely suspects. This is why she asks that he please stay away from her son, who is still in high school. All is well until Darby ends up dead outside their lake side house after an argument with Beau. Margaret finds the body, assumes that her son killed him, panics, and tries to get rid of it.

Goran Visnjic in “The Deep End” What ensues is a variation on a Coen brother’s movie, in which one bad thing leads to another, and Margaret is soon in over her head. One of these things enters Alek (played very well by Goran Visnjic of “E.R.”) into the film. He has video tape that could incriminate Beau if given to the police. Of course, he wants money. $50,000 to be exact, and he wants it the next day. When she can’t comply with this demand, we are given one of the films best scenes, in which Alek tells her she isn’t trying hard enough. Her response is a variation on the following: “You’re right. Maybe I’m not. Maybe tomorrow between a father in law who needs care, a son who has to get to school, a daughter who has to get to dance practice, laundry that needs doing, and dinner that needs fixing I’ll find the time to try a little harder.”

“The Deep End” is also filled with symbolism, parallels, and powerful themes. Consider the way that water is in almost every scene in one way or another. In one scene it could be rain, in another, in the washer, and all of the things that water means. The way Margaret’s relationship with Alek begins to mirror the relationship with her and Beau. And also how Swinton’s Margaret must deal with all of these battles to protect her son, while mothering her other two kids, and watching out for her father-in-law.

This is a wonderful, powerful film. However, there are some things that Christians need to be aware of if they are planning on attending this movie. There is a fair amount of bad language, particularly in the second half of the movie. There is also some violence, which is sometimes bloody. As well, the tape used to blackmail Margaret is of her son and Darby engaging in sexual intercourse. It is shown once briefly and then again for a longer amount of time. WARNING!!! It is extremely graphic. Regardless of the viewer, this scene will be very disturbing and difficult to watch. I suppose that it was intended as shock value. And it certainly is shocking, but I think it detracts. Then, there is the overall subject matter. Does Margaret break the law? Yes. She does. Is this right? No. But it is understandable. She is the protector of her children. Also, her son is gay. it’s true, there are gay people in the world. And while certainly not approving of that lifestyle, a Christian must remember that God did not call use to condemn the people, but rather the sin.

Many Christians will not attend this fine film because of that particular scene involving the video tape. One can’t blame them. It isn’t the most joyous part of the film. And it goes without saying that only the most mature children should even be considered for viewing this film. And even then, parents should think twice. But for those adults who appreciate, understand, and value film, this is a truly wonderful experience whose final scene and themes won’t shortly be forgotten.


Viewer Comments
Positive—Deep End is a surprisingly good take on moral themes …family, love, etc. Performances are among the best… Many Christians will find some scenes objectionable, however the message of this film is positive. I took my teenage daughter, and it opened the way for some serious discussions of values such as homosexuality from a Christian perspective.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Richard Schmitz, age 45