"Listen and I'll tell you a story of long kept secrets, sexual scandal, and murder... It's the story of my life." Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune, The Lion King) delivers a brilliant performance in t... more »his powerful and provocative story as history teacher Tom Crick, who inspires his students to embrace the past and discover the marvels and mysteries of life. Through a series of extraordinary stories, he takes them on an unforgettable journey into the past that changes their lives forever. However, one student (Ethan Hawke, Training Day, Dead Poets Society) proves to be more of a challenge, leading to revelations in which the past's haunting grip on the teacher's life threatens to consume all around him. Featuring an incredible supporting cast including Sinead Cusack (V for Vendetta), Lena Headey (Possession), David Morrissey (Girl with a Pearl Earring), John Heard (Cutter's Way), Pete Postlethwaite (The Usual Suspects), Cara Buono (Gladiator), Ross McCall (Band of Brothers), and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary). SPECIAL FEATURES:New Digital Widescreen Transfer, New Audio Commentary with Director Stephen Gyllenhaal, New Interview with Composer Carter Burwell and Theatrical Trailer.« less
Jens Haetty | Burlington, VT United States | 02/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is one of those rare moments in life, when you go to a movie theatre, and just purchase a ticket for the next-best movie, not knowing (or caring) what it is about. In one particular case, this was "Waterland", and the money felt well-spent. The original novel the film is based on is set in England. Incomprehensible as it may seem to some to change the setting to a place in the USA for those parts that describe the adult life of that frustrated and unhappy history teacher, it gives the story added depth. The angle from which the movie develops the plot (a teacher, exiled in the US if you will, is challenged from all sides to defend the value of history) is compelling since it unravels most beautifully and emotionally the teacher's own involvement with it. I do not want to give away what the story twists are, go into the film as I did. But the way the movie uses two different time lines to tell the whole story, and interweaves them artfully, is brillant. Jeremy Irons (I actually did not know him at the time, believe it or not) is most fitting as the main character. Ethan Hawke, well I guess they had to pick somebode to play a rebellious pupil, is not bad, but his performance does not contol the movie. Sinead Cusack, on the other hand, plays so convincingly the part of the teacher's wife, still hunted by the common past, that this role is sort of stuck to her in my view."
A beautiful underrated film
prettyclouds26 | el paso, texas United States | 12/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i wonder why this movie hasn't had the appreciation i think it deserves. it is beautifully shot and has a devastating story of guilt, love, redemption and a couple other underlying themes that i'm sure i forgot. oh my god, and i'm telling you the ending will send your eyes to niagra falls. totally satisfies my depressed movie jones. love this!"
Quiet Perfection From Jeremy Irons
Natasha Conn | Las Cruces, NM USA | 12/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this movie on IFC late last night and remembered the lasting effects it had on me when it first came out. Irons plays a Pittsburgh history teacher who escapes his crumbling marriage by weaving tales of his family history into his school lessons, he and the students literally walking into WWI veteran hospitals and his childhood home of the English Fens. Irons brings a fragile power to the professor knowing his day his done, his final speech to the school, accompanied by the somber score, incredibly moving. His real life wife Sinead Cusack plays his spouse, ravaged by some dark secret. Though she overdoes the wailing a bit, only Dick Cheney could be unmoved by the closing scenes. See it if only for Irons' gulping smoke rings scene in the bar with Ethan Hawke - the great tortured actor of our era, in one of his best."
Intensely emotional story of a couple facing their past.
Natasha Conn | 12/05/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My father and I saw this moview together many years ago and we came out stunned. While my father found it depressing, I insist it is not. The story is wrenching but worthwile for the expansive sense of unity and catharthis at the end. The story deals with the tragic consequences of alcoholism, incest, lack of sex-ed, pre-marital sex and illegal/unsafe abortions. Heavy, but an incredible movie."
Even better than I remembered.
Natasha Conn | 08/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the film before I read the book, which I loved, along with every other book by Graham Swift. My initial impression of the film, seen in the cinema, was good enough to want to read the book but I wasn't overwhelmed by either the narrative or the cinematic style. However, I recently bought the DVD version (released in Hong Kong) and this time was bowled over by how good Jeremy Irons was (by far his best performance), how faithful the film was to the spirit of the book and just how well the director's style had represented it. I was also far more overwhelmed than I was originally by the painful but, I thought, positive and optimistic ending, which had me in tears. That could be because I'd experienced similar pains and accommodations since first seeing the film, but I also think that like so many fine things "Waterland" has improved with age. If you enjoyed "Waterland" then get hold of Swift's "Ever After" and "Closing Time" (which I understand is about to be filmed). You won't be disappointed."