Actress Sarah Polley portrays Hanna, a troubled deaf woman with a tragic past who chooses to spend her first vacation in four years in the middle of the ocean on an oil rig caring for a burn victim in writer / director Isabel Coixet's The Secret Life Of Words.
Polley has always made interesting career choices, such as her turn as a grocery clerk / drug dealer in Go, and her beautiful performance as a dying woman in My Life Without Me. Now we can add TSLOW to that list. And while her co-star, Tim Robbins, who plays burn victim Josef, has quite a few blockbuster roles under his belt, it's turns like this one, as well as his portrayal of a man torn between love and duty in Code 46, that leave me wondering if this is the same guy who played Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh in Bull Durham all those years ago.
In the end, while this movie seems on the surface to be about two people thrown together by chance, it also explores how much pain the heart and mind can take before breaking, as well as if love can ever truly mend anything.
Thanks in part to the widescreen format, the outdoor shots of rain falling on the oil rig and ocean waves crashing were beautiful. In fact, every exterior scene was beautifully shot. As for interior scenes, which unfortunately made up the bulk of the film, those on the oil rig were jumpy and left me feeling seasick, which may or may not have been intentional, as there were no extras on the DVD to provide that sort of background information.
My biggest issue with the movie was the sound quality, which was terrible. That, coupled with the fact that there were no English subtitles to rely on (and my French is extremely rusty) left me missing (most likely) key pieces of the storyline.
No extras, but a catalog of 40 Monster / Media Festival Collection films, which were nothing more than a shot of the DVD box and text, with the text too small to read.
It doesn't surprise me that no one I know has ever seen, let alone heard of, this movie. I only recommend it to huge fans of Sarah Polley or Tim Robbins. Or anyone who works on an oil rig.
Juliet Farmer, aka writnkitten