Multiple faiths believe in its concept. And frankly, people should be hopeful that it happens sooner rather than later. The idea of a new world is not something that refers to heaven and/or where one goes after passing away. At least, that’s what the religious scholars would say. Instead, it’s the promise that one day the inhabitants of Earth might choose peace over violence and inclusivity over intolerance. This leads to a new film aptly entitled “The World to Come,” a look at two women who lived over 150 years ago and how their lack of acceptance mirrors today’s society.
The project—adapted from Jim Shepard’s short story of the same name—is only the second outing in the director’s chair for Mona Fastvold, the director and writing partner (and partner) of filmmaker Brady Corbet. Her only other credit thus far is for directing 2014’s deeply underrated “The Sleepwalker” which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Sharing the job of screenwriter on the picture with Shepard is Ron Hansen, himself the author of the novel “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” which—itself―was adapted for the big screen. This picture is—no doubt―a personal one for Fastvold as she says, “The World to Come examines the lives of two ordinary women that have become increasingly heroic, extraordinary figures in my life.” She went on to say, “To finally share their story with the public is my great honor.”
Vanessa Kirby (“Hobbs & Shaw” & “The Crown”) and Katherine Waterston (“Fantastic Beasts” films & “Inherent Vice”) play lovers Tallie and Abigail, respectively. Both actresses have played versions of a badass, Kirby as Hattie Shaw and Waterston as Tina Goldstein. It will be nice to see them hopefully lend a more reserved but still potent level of that intensity. Portraying their significant others/major detriments to their relationship are Christopher Abbott (“First Man” & “The Sinner”) and Oscar winner Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) as Finney and Dyer, respectively. Affleck is also a producer on the film.
Here’s the synopsis:
In upstate New York in the 1850s, Abigail begins a new year on the rural farm where she lives with her husband Dyer. As Abigail considers the year to come through her journal entries, we experience the marked contrast between her deliberate, stoic manner and her unraveling complex emotions. Spring arrives and Abigail meets Tallie, an emotionally frank and arrestingly beautiful newcomer renting a neighboring farm with her husband, Finney. The two strike up a tentative relationship, filling a void in their lives which neither knew existed.
We follow the progress of the two women’s increased intimacy and passionate devotion to one another, even as they begin to register that they have no model for this new state in which they find themselves. As both husbands come to terms with the intensity of their wives’ connection—Dyer’s wounded feelings and Finney’s jealous vindictiveness—events climax with Finney’s decision to move Tallie away, and Abigail’s determination to pursue her lost kindred spirit.
“The World to Come” will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival later today (September 6). See how timeless love really is and check out a first look below.