ALMOND AND THE SEAHORSE, THE
(director: Celyn Jones/Tom Stern; screenwriters: Celyn Jones/Kaite O’Reilly/based on the play by Kaite O’Reilly; cinematographer: Tom Stern; editor: Mike Jones; music: Gruff Rhys; cast: Rebel Wilson (Sarah), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Toni), Trine Dyrholm (Gwen), Celyn Jones (Joe), Meera Syal (Dr. Falmer), Alice Lowe (Cath), Ruth Madeley (Jenny), Patrick Elue (Moses), Martha Last (Bethan), Alyson Marks (Marion); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Andy Evans, Sean Marley, Alex Ashworth, Alison Brister; IFC Films; 2022)
“What might have worked on the stage doesn’t necessarily work in cinema.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A stage play adaptation of Kaite O’Reilly’s dreary play. It’s co-directed by the first time feature film directors, the actor Celyn Jones and the cinematographer Thomas Stern. It’s co-written by Celyn Jones and Kaite O’Reilly. What might have worked on the stage doesn’t necessarily work in cinema.
The title is derived from the two limbic structures inside the brain: the amygdala and the hippocampus, which store memories. They are shaped like an almond and a seahorse.
Sarah (Rebel Wilson) is married to Joe (Ceyn Jones), who suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The architect named Toni (Charlotte Gainsbourg) has a fifteen-year lesbian relationship with Gwen (Trine Dyrholm), who also suffers from TBI.
Joe is so out of it, he talks to complete strangers in the street and is most forgetful. While Toni has to endure Gwen just disappearing for a time.
Both couples rely on the rehab specialist Dr. Falmer (Meera Syal) for help.
Though their stories are earnest, the dialogue is clunky, the scenes are tedious and the drama is facile. Nothing is impactful, as it’s like being around tragic figures you feel sorry for but can’t relate to.
The material is not good enough for it to be a feature film. I would skip this one if you were looking for something more poignant or more emotionally impactful. I can’t blame the talented actors for not making this one work.
REVIEWED ON 1/3/2022 GRADE: C